Malware / Featured Blogs

Do We Need Two Internets?

Jonathan Zittrain's recent book, The Future of the Internet -- And How to Stop It, has spurred a lot of discussion both online and offline, with blog posts lauding his insights or criticising his over-apocalyptic imagination. The book itself makes fascinating reading for those who have watched the network grow from its roots in the research community into today's global channel for communications, commerce and cultural expression... One of the reasons that Zittrain puts forward for the growing popularity of closed or, as he prefers 'tethered', devices, is that they are less vulnerable to hacking, security flaws, malware and all the other perils that face any internet-enabled system. more

Coders, Crackers and Bots, Oh My!

There are more than just blue, black and white hat hackers. There are a few more types of folks out there that don't fit into the above categories. This article is taken from Stratfor with some commentary by myself... Many of the hackers described in my previous post are also coders, or "writers," who create viruses, worms, Trojans, bot protocols and other destructive "malware" tools used by hackers... more

CNN.Com, Politically Motivated DDoS, and Asymmetric Warfare

Once again I find myself thinking about the nature of the asymmetric warfare threat posed by politically motivated DDoS (Estonia in 07, Korea in 02, and now China vs. CNN in 08). I keep thinking about it in terms of asymmetric warfare, a class of warfare where one side is a traditional, centrally managed military with superior uniformed numbers, weaponry, and skill. On the other we have smaller numbers, usually untrained fighters with meager weapons, and usually a smaller force. Historical examples include the North Vietnamese in the 20th century and even the American Revolution in the 18th century. Clearly this can be an effective strategy for a band of irregulars... more

An Open Letter to Yahoo!‘s Postmaster

In June 2004, Yahoo! and a number of other companies got together to announce the Anti-Spam Technical Alliance or ASTA. While it appears to have been largely silent since then, ASTA did at least publish an initial set of best practices the widespread adoption of which could possibly have had some impact on spam... The majority of these are clearly aimed at ISPs and end users, but some are either generally or specifically relevant to email providers such as Yahoo!, Google or Microsoft... The problem: Since February this year, we have been receiving a significant quantity of spam emails from Yahoo!'s servers. In addition to their transport via the Yahoo! network, all originate from email addresses in, and one or two other Yahoo! domains. Every such message bears a Yahoo! DomainKeys signature... more

IP Addresses and Personally Identifiable Information

I don't normally cheer for Google when I don't own shares in the company, but this time I will make an exception. Alma Whitten, Software Engineer at Google, today posted to their Public Policy Blog that IP addresses shouldn't be considered Personally Identifiable Information (PII). This is not a problem in the United States but it is in the EU, and if the EU actually were to legislate this it would most definitely affect Microsoft and Google's business functionality in the EU... more

Circumstantial Evidence of Yahoo’s CAPTCHA Being Broken

A couple of weeks ago, I read an article on Yahoo that some outfit in Russia claimed to have broken Yahoo's CAPTCHA for creation of new email accounts. Another blogger wrote that it was unlikely that the spamming outfit had achieved 100% success at breaking the CAPTCHA. Yet, in the past couple of weeks, I have noticed something that would seem to confirm the theory... more

Facebook Apps on Any Website: A Clever Move? Or a Security Nightmare?

Well, given the amount of malicious JavaScript, malware, and other possibilities to use Facebook (and other similar social networking platforms) for abuse, I certainly wouldn't categorize this news as a "clever move"... In fact, I foresee this as an extraordinarily short-sighted move with far-reaching security implications -- which will allow the levels of malicious abuse to reach new heights. more

How Big is the Storm Botnet?

The Storm worm has gotten a lot of press this year, with a lot of the coverage tending toward the apocalyptic. There's no question that it's one of the most successful pieces of malware to date, but just how successful is it? Last weekend, Brandon Enright of UC San Diego gave a informal talk at the Toorcon conference in which he reported on his analysis of the Storm botnet. According to his quite informative slides, Storm has evolved quite a lot over the past year... more

The New Hong Kong Anti-Spam Law, and a Small Fly in the Ointment

Well, it has been quite a while since first the Hong Kong OFTA (in 2004) and then CITB (in 2006) issued requests for public comment about a proposed UEM (Unsolicited Electronic Messaging) bill to be introduced in Hong Kong, for the purpose of regulating unsolicited email, telephone and fax solicitations. We're a large (worldwide) provider of email and spam filtering - but we're based in Hong Kong, and any regulation there naturally gets tracked by us rather more actively than laws elsewhere. We sent in our responses to both these agencies... The bill is becoming law now - and most of it looks good... There's one major fly in the ointment though... more

Ready or Not… Here Come the IRC-Controlled SIP/VoIP Attack Bots and Botnets!

A story... ZZZ Telemarketing (not a real name) is locked in a heated fight with their bitter rival, YYY Telemarketing (also not a real name), to win a very large lead generation contract with Customer X. Customer X has decided to run a test pitting the two companies against each other for a week to see who can generate the most leads. The ZZZ CEO has said to his staff that it is "do or die" for the company. If they fail to win the contract, they will have to shut down -- they need to do "whatever it takes" to win over YYY. A ZZZ staffer discovers that part of why YYY has consistently underbid them is because they are using SIP trunks to reduce their PSTN connection costs. But the staffer also discovers that YYY is using very cheap voice service providers who run over the public Internet with no security... more