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How Do You Do Secure Bank Transactions on the Internet?

Banks love it when their customers do their transactions on line, since it is so much cheaper than when they use a bank-provided ATM, a phone call center, or, perish forbid, a live human teller. Customers like it too, since bank web sites are usually open 24/7, there's no line and no need to find a parking place. Unfortunately, crooks like on line banking too, since it offers the possibility of stealing lots of money. How can banks make their on line transactions more secure? more

Kidnapping, Theft and Rape Are Not “Cyber” Crimes

Kidnap. Rape. There are no lesser words that can be used to describe what happened to the daughter of an anti-spam investigator in Russia. His daughter was recently released, according to Joseph Menn's recent article on Boing Boin, after having been kidnapped from her home five years ago, fed drugs, and made to service men, as a warning to ward off further investigations. The criminals behind these vicious acts were also responsible for large spamming organization associated with Russian Mob activity. 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 yahoo.com, yahoo.co.uk and one or two other Yahoo! domains. Every such message bears a Yahoo! DomainKeys signature... more

Cyber Crime: An Economic Problem

During ISOI 4 (hosted by Yahoo! in Sunnyvale, California) whenever someone made mention of RBN (the notoriously malicious and illegal bulletproof hosting operation, the Russian Business Network) folks would immediately point out that an operation just as bad was just "next door" (40 miles down the road?), working undisturbed for years. They spoke of Atrivo (also known as Intercage). The American RBN, if you like... more

The Sins of the Flash

Recent news stories (based on research by Stanford student Feross Aboukhadijeh) state that an Adobe bug made it possible for remote sites to turn on a viewer's camera and microphone. That sounds bad enough, but that's not the really disturbing part. 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

Continued Threats from Malware

As part of my job, I manage an incident response team that was engaged by a significant organization in Georgia whose network was infected by the QBOT (a.k.a. QAKBOT) malware. The customer had been infected for over a year, several teams before ours had failed to solve the problem, and they continued to get reinfected by the malware when they thought they had eradicated it. Over time it had spread to more than 1,000 computers in their ecosystem stealing user credentials along the way. 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

ClamAV and the Case of the Missing Mail

Some email discussion lists were all atwitter yesterday, as Sourcefire's open-source anti-virus engine ClamAV version 0.94.x reached its end-of-life. Rather than simply phase this geriatric version out the development team put to halt instances of V0.94 in production yesterday, April 15, 2010. In other words, the ClamAV developers caused version .94 to stop working entirely, and, depending upon the implementation, that meant email to systems using ClamAV also stopped flowing. more

Report Estimates Cybercrime Taking $600 Billion Toll on Global Economy

Cybercrime is costing businesses close to $600 billion, or 0.8 percent of global GDP, according to a report released today by McAfee, in partnership with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). more

Trusted Notifiers and the Future of DNS Abuse

Efforts have been ongoing in the ICANN community to develop a better understanding of its role in the combat of abuse. This theme has been rising in prominence every year since 2018, and 2021 appears to be the tipping point, in which consensus has built around the idea that more can be accomplished in terms of reducing the impact of rogue actors using the Internet for malicious purposes. 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

Uprooting of the DNS Root

The folks at Renesys pointed out earlier this week some interesting activity surrounding the L-root name server, highlighting some activity that should give us all yet another reason to be concerned about the security and integrity of the Internet DNS... considering that a great deal of malware today tends to corrupt the DNS resolution path in order to further exploit compromised end-systems, and that corruption, or any other actual end-system compromise, might well be unnecessary if the root were compromised -- well, think of the possibilities! more

The Criminals Behind WannaCry

359,000 computers infected, dozens of nations affected world-wide! A worm exploiting a Windows OS vulnerability that looks to the network for more computers to infect! This is the most pernicious, evil, dangerous attack, ever... Queue the gnashing of teeth and hand-wringing! Wait, what? WannaCry isn't unprecedented! Why would any professional in the field think so? I'm talking about Code Red, and it happened in July, 2001. more

How to Track Online Malevolent Identities in the Act

Want to be a cybersleuth and track down hackers? It may sound ambitious considering that malevolent entities are extremely clever, and tracing them requires certain skills that may not be easy to build for the typical computer user. But then again, the best defense is offense. And learning the basics of sniffing out cybercriminals may not only be necessary nowadays, it has become essential for survival on the Web. So where can you begin? more