Monday, February 11, 2008

MayDay Botnet, Storm Worm and Now Mega-D

The newest botnets and worms on the horizon are becoming increasingly hard to track, hard to find and harder to remove. Last week I posted about the MayDay Botnet which researchers are saying it sneakier and stealthier than anything they've seen so far.

Last month new warnings went out about the latest version of the Storm Worm. Sent to unsuspecting users as a simple innocent looking Valentine greeting. The spammed email messages are just plain text, but contain links that lead to malicious Web sites displaying one of eight cute Valentine images. If you run the executable named VALENTINE.EXE, your system will inevitably join the Storm botnet to start spamming other Internet users.

Previous variants of storm used the same similar approach sending emails with subjects such as, "You've received a postcard from a family member!" or "You've received an Ecard from a friend".

Now we face the newest, and possibly the worst spam threat in the form of "Mega-D". According to a recent Ars Technia article "New Mega-D menace muscles Storm Worm aside", the Australian security company Marshal, Mega-D now accounts for 32 percent of the total spam the company is tracking online. The experts at Marshal have said "Storm is one of five botnets that we have been monitoring that we believe are responsible for approximately 75 per cent of all spam in circulation. One particular botnet which heavily promotes a certain brand of male enhancement pills (Mega-D), accounts for nearly 30 percent. This one bot has already exceeded Storm’s records and it has done it quietly without attracting too much attention." writes "Storm worm dethroned by sex botnet". " The Mega-D botnet, which offers discounted sexual enhancement pills to users, delivers a whopping 30 percent more spam than Storm, famous for delivering malicious Valentine's Day cards. It is the largest botnet on record, according to security firm Marshal Ltd., and has exceeded Storm's highest spam output in September last year by 12%".

The best defense against viruses, malware, trojans, worms and botnets is a good offense. Meaning update all your virus definitions regularly, update your spyware programs, your windows installations and all your installed programs. Viruses can attack exploits in media players, flash players and even Adobe Acrobat while you are viewing PDF's.

Its also highly recommended that you avoid opening emails from unknown sources. While you might be tempted to read that e-card you are far better off being safe than sorry. If you aren't currently using an anit-virus program thenI'd suggest either AVG's Free Version or Avast's Free Home Edition. For spyware detection and removal Spy-bot Search & Destroy and Ad-aware Free Edition.

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