Malware / Featured Blogs

Web Server Botnets and Server Farms as Attack Platforms

Are file inclusion vulnerabilitiess equivalent to remote code execution? Are servers (both Linux and Windows) now the lower hanging fruit rather than desktop systems? In the February edition of the Virus Bulletin magazine, we (Kfir Damari, Noam Rathaus and Gadi Evron (me) of Beyond Security) wrote an article on cross platform web server malware and their massive use as botnets, spam bots and generally as attack platforms. Web security papers deal mostly with secure coding and application security. In this paper we describe how these are taken to the next level with live attacks and operational problems service providers deal with daily. more

Trench Warfare in the Age of The Laser-Guided Missile

The historical development of spam fighting is allowing computer-aware criminals to take the upper hand in the fight against what has now evolved into a completely technologically and organizationally merged threat to public safety. If we do not change our strategic approach immediately, the battle, indeed even the war may be all but lost... Of late, much has been said in the popular and computer press about a vector that is annoying, but hardly critical in nature: 'Image spam'. Spammers have jumped on the new technology of 'image-only' payloads, which morph one pixel per message, rendering them unique, and traditional check-sum blocking strategies ineffective... Fortunately this fraudulent stock-touting scheme leaves a paper trail that has allowed for some successful prosecutions in the latter half of the year. Stock spamming, while popular at present time is likely to decline as legal actions increase... more

P2P as a New Spam Medium, Moving From PoC to Full Operations

Spam on P2P networks used to be mainly with advertising inside downloaded movies and pictures (mainly pornographic in nature), as well as by hiding viruses and other malware in downloaded warez and most any other file type (from zip archives to movie files). Further, P2P networks were in the past used for harvesting by spammers. Today, P2P has become a direct to customer spamvertizing medium. This has been an ongoing change for a while. As we speak, it is moving from a proof of concept trial to a full spread of spam, day in, day out... more

.MS: Alternate Root and Monoculture as Good Things

Why shouldn't there be a .gadi TLD? Why not one for Microsoft? This post is not about alternate roots or why they are bad, this post is about something else. We do need to go over some background (from my perspective) very quickly though. ICANN has a steel-fist control over what happens in the DNS realm. They decide what is allowed, and who gets money from it. Whether it's VeriSign for .com or any registrar for the domains they sell. They decide if .gadi should exist or not. ...What I am here to discuss is why Microsoft, as a non-arbitrary choice this time, indeed, of all the world, should kick it aside, creating an alternate root while at the same time not disturbing the world's DNS. more

What is 'Pharming' and Should You Be Worried?

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! ...or is it? What is this thing called "pharming"? Put simply, it's redirection of web traffic, so that the server you think you're talking to actually belongs to a criminal. For example: you think you're talking to because it says so in the browser's address bar, but actually you're connected to This can happen in three main ways: 1. DNS Hijack: a social engineering attack on the Internet infrastructure... more

What's Wrong With Spam Prosecutions

Spam these days is more than an annoyance -- it increasingly carries malware payloads that can do serious damage to your PC, steal your identity, or turn your PC into a zombie that carries out denial of service attacks. So anything that law enforcement can do to fight spam should be a good thing, right? Well, not quite, as I'll explain. more

80% of Spam Originating from Home PCs

The majority of spam -- as much as 80 per cent of all unsolicited marketing messages sent -- now emanates from residential ISP networks and home user PCs. This is due to the proliferation of spam trojans, bits of surreptitious malware code embedded in residential subscriber PCs by worms and spyware programs. Worm attacks are growing in frequency because they provide a fast means of infecting a vast number of computers with spam trojans in a very short period of time. It's no surprise that many service providers report an upsurge in spam traffic immediately following a worm attack. more

Blacklisting Under Wrong Assumptions

If you analyze the relay of spam- and malware-containing email circulating on the Internet purely through your mail server logs (running the Unix command "tail"), a large proportion seem to come from Asia Pacific hosts, especially those from mainland China. Therefore, many less-experienced systems administrators have simply blocked the access from subnets of Chinese or Asian origin, effectively destroying the fabric of the Internet -- messaging. If administrators took pains to analyze these supposedly Asian spam messages by analyzing the full Internet headers, they would have realized that the Asian servers were merely used by the real spammers as open relays, or perhaps as zombie hosts previously infected with the mass mailing worms through the exploitation of operating system vulnerabilities.  more