New botnet as powerful as Storm worm revealed

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New botnet as powerful as Storm worm revealed

After a year in development, a botnet touted as the ‘Celebrity Spam Gang’ has reached similar distribution capabilities as the notorious Storm worm and is responsible for 20 percent of all spam circulation, warned Marshal.

According to Bradley Anstis VP of Products for Marshal, the gang now controls a sizable spam generating botnet – enough to put them right up there with the current kings of spam, the Storm Gang.

Researchers estimate the Storm worm botnet ranges in between 1 million to 2 million infected PCs.

“The Celebrity Spam Gang has been on our radar for a while but it was not until now that we realised the scale they have achieved with their botnet,” said Anstis.

“We deliberately infected a test computer with the Celebrity Gang botnet and then closely monitored its behaviour, we were able to match this spam against 23 percent of all spam we saw in circulation for the previous month.

“It was a little bit of a surprise to learn how significant a spam player they had become,” said Anstis.

Unveiling its findings today, Marshal said the [celebrity] title coincides with the gang’s fondness for spamming messages with malware attachments that commonly feature subject lines about Angelina Jolie and Britney Spears.

However, in the past the botnet has also promised free games and Windows Security Updates.

Anstis said the gang is emulating the Storm Gang but using arguably less sophisticated methods.

“The Storm Gang has been more inventive with their campaigns and exploited everything from news headlines to greeting cards. There is clearly a need for renewed awareness and education,” he said.

Marshal recommends PC users do not open executable files from unknown email addresses.

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