Rustock Returns With a Vengeance in the New Year

As reported previously, spam levels worldwide dropped hugely over the 2010 Christmas period – but the lull appears to be well and truly over now, with the largest botnets returning to business as usual.

Even the world’s biggest disseminator of spam, Rustock, went almost silent for Christmas Day. The flow of spam from the botnet dropped to a trickle – just 0.5 per cent of spam worldwide.

However, this has proven to be a mere seasonal blip, with two different Internet security firms reporting that Rustock and other spammers have begun pumping out the junk emails once again – and spam levels are shooting up.

Symantec Hosted Services senior anti-spam technologist Matt Sergeant said on Tuesday: “MessageLabs Intelligence analysts did not expect this respite to last, and sadly we were right.” He and Symantec malware analyst Mathew Nisbet published a report on the same day, suggesting that Rustock restarted on 10 January.

“MessageLabs Intelligence honeypot servers have seen an increase of roughly 98 per cent in spam traffic between 00:00 and 10:00 today compared to the same period on January 9,” the report read.

Two other important botnets, Lethic and Xarvester, are still dormant though. The MessageLabs intelligence report said that Lethic has been quiet since 28 December last year, and Xarvester has not been spotted sending spam since New Year’s Eve.

Rustock is definitely making up for lost time. The Symantec report said that although its output is slightly lower than in the pre-Christmas period, activity levels are returning to normal and is on course to be once again responsible for 90 per cent of global spam.

· · · ·

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply