Storm botnet evolution hints at spam and DDoS renting

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Oct 17, 2007

Latest change in tactics could mean zombie clusters for hire.

The latest twist in the long-running 'Storm' saga, the use of encryption in communications between infected hosts and command-and-control systems, has led to widespread speculation that the ever-growing botnet being built up by the criminals behind the attack is being split into segments in preparation for renting out as a spam or DDoS tool.

A blog entry by a researcher at SecureWorks, describing the use of encrypted traffic in the Overnet/eDonkey P2P protocol used by the latest waves of trojans, suggests that the segmented network would be a formidable weapon for hire, with a full range of functionality and self-defence mechanisms.

While there have been some suggestions that the latest changes make the Storm traffic easier to distinguish from legitimate data - largely unnecessary as the official eDonkey system was shut down last year after copyright violation issues - the possibility of a major, well-designed botnet with potentially hundreds of thousands of infected hosts could pose a threat to sites vulnerable to DDoS and has the potential to produce vast amounts of spam.

The SecureWorks blog entry on the encrypted P2P traffic is here and further coverage is here (at ZDNet) and here (at The Register).

Posted on 17 October 2007 by Virus Bulletin



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