"Storm worm" malware may mutate into the largest botnet of all time

Last January, users were warned of malware that was spreading via e-mails that claimed to offer reports on killer storms in Europe. The Zhelatin gang, responsible for the Trojan, is applying every single trick in the book to create a swarm of spamming bots that may be as huge as 10 million!

The article from Ars Technica reports:

The authors behind a specific strain of malware are trying every trick in the book to get users to succumb to their ill-meaning plans. You name it, they've used it: weather news, personal greetings, reports that Saddam Hussein is still alive, reports that Fidel Castro is dead, sexy women, YouTube, and even blogs. The group seems hellbent on creating the largest botnet to date, and they just might do it.

The internetnews reports that unlike most botnets, the Trojan has no centralized hub and spreads via peer-to-peer technologies using the edonkey protocol. Latest in the spate of attacks are malicious links posted on blogs at Blogger.com, as reported at Channel Register. Researchers cite that this new mutation may be an accidental advantage for the Trojan since blogs allow users to send posts via e-mails.

YouTube lures (PC Mag) are also used to get naive users to click on downloads or video links and get their systems infected. PDF attachment attacks and embedding plain IP addresses instead of URLs in e-mails are other variations adopted by malware writers to circumvent spam filters.

While estimates on the size of the botnets vary from a few to 10 million systems, researchers fear the repercussions of deploying such a force for DDoS or other such attacks. As always, personal caution is the best remedy. Users need to be increasingly wary of following e-mail links.


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