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back to article Botnet speed test uncovers drag racers of malware

Researchers have discovered that Zombie machines within the Xarvester and Rustock botnets are capable of sending up to 25,000 junk mail messages per hour. The speed test, by security researchers at Marshal8e6, found that the two botnets are the muscle cars of the world of malware. Marshal8e6 deliberately infested its lab …

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Domestos

"Over the past few years, botnets have revolutionised the spam industry and pushed spam volumes to epidemic proportions despite the best efforts of law enforcement and the computer security industry,"

Well, clearly, the only solution is to take control of the botnets and disinfect them. I know it's illegal, but the problem can't be solved if the computer security industry has both hands tied behind its back. We should hold our noses and allow them to get on with it.

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Still don't get ISPs

Why don't they just cut off machines on their networks that are so obviously sending spam?

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@Still don't get ISPs

Because more spam = need for more bandwidth + more spam filter sales.

Why do you thing the big anti-spam vendors (MessageLabs, Barracuda, Brightmail, etc.) are so insistent on creating backscatter spam; more spam = more profit.

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Jon

@paul

Virgin do.

I used to work on their Internet Security team and we regularly walled gardened people whose connections were reported to us for sending out spam and we wouldnt unrestrict thier access until their machine was clean.

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@Paul Soleki

> Why don't they just cut off machines on their networks that are so obviously sending spam?

Ok, so, somehow, through no fault of your own, your PC gets infected.

No problem, you think, I'll download software to disinfect it...

... err, hang on, I've been cut off by my ISP...

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Pirate

@ Graham Marsden

Backup your sensitive data & then re-install the O/S .....

or better still , make sure your machine is secure & patched ...

YARRRRRRRRRRR

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@Paul Solecki - Still don't get ISPs

Probably because they don't want to deal with the customer asking things like "Why is my internet down?" and deal with other verbal diarrhoea coming with it, and just get on with raking in the cash from the gullible.

I'm happy to be a customer of one that does actively combat misuse in the way you suggest:

A customer found to be spouting rubbish over their connection is shoved onto a heavily filtered and throttled proxy, only allowing enough access to get OS/Antivirus updates and access to the ISP helpdesk.

An official warning is sent to their primary account address, to warn them of what is going on and what has been done, and the steps required to get normal service again.

Failing to clean up results in a speedy termination of the contract.

Problem solved.

Another good thing they do is they have recently started providing courses on computer/online safety and best practises for their customers.

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Anonymous Coward

@Graham Marsden

The ISP wouldn't need to block all internet traffic - just outgoing SMTP port 25, so web traffic and even incoming email wouldn't get cut off.

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Stop

@Graham Marsden

You call your ISP and they tell you you're infected and will disallow you connection until you're clear.

It's called 'quarantine'.

You wouldn't allow someone with a highly contagious disease wander into a shopping centre looking for cure, would you?

Infected people will then take a great deal more care. As I understand it, most of the infected PC's in the world are owned by people who don't care. If they're cut off, they will. Simple.

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@wortel

At least name them, the least we can do if they're any good is spread the word.

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Anonymous Coward

Is it any coincidence

that the two most powerful botnets also have the coolest names?

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@AC 12:17

There is a problem with your way. People like me who run their own e-mail server for their own domain that is hosted off their internet connection. Just because others use their internet connection only to browse the grand old internet doesn't mean everyone uses it for the same thing.

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It's not just the ISPs...

How about all those mail servers that accept mail on port 25 which is destined for outside networks? Those bastards allow spam access to mail servers blocking based on the SpamHaus PBL, which does a lot to block bot-net sourced spam, since most bots are on DHCP home network connections, which are reasonable easy to find, and which should never be sending mail on port 25, unless it's through a proxy run by their ISP... and honestly that should only accept mail on the submission port anyhow. No mail server should have it's legit users sending mail through port 25 at all, and they should require authentication on 587.

But yeah, ISPs don't do it right either.

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The problem is

that when the LEAs do bust the bastards responsible for these botnets all that happens is that they get offered cushy jobs with security companies. So there's a strong incentive for malware authors to keep on pushing their crap, because they know full well that if they do get caught, they will be rewarded with lucrative jobs instead of being punished as they should be. Now if instead we had actual laws in place prohibiting convicted criminals from being employed as a result of their crimes and instead locked the little bastards up and threw away the key, that at least would be a start in curbing this plague. But as long as things go on as they are, we can only look forward to the Internet eventually being rendered completely unusable as every dick and their dog climbs onto the botnet bandwagon knowing they'll come out of it covered with gold.

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@Tim Schomer - @wortel

The ISP I referred to is XS4ALL - http://www.xs4all.nl, local to The Netherlands.

Not all that useful to UK residents i'm afraid, but if I find one of similar competence local to the UK I will of course let you know :)

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Anonymous Coward

@Kevin

but is your email server sending hundreds of thousands of emails a day over a typical home consumer broadband connection? If not, then you wouldn't get blocked. If you really need to, then wouldn't the small inconvenience of getting the ISP to exclude you from being put on the block list be worth it to allow them to put a system in place which reduces the huge amount of spam getting sent from the PCs of less tech-savvy users?

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