21 Mar 2011

Rustock botnet disrupted

There may be some light at the end of the tunnel in the global cyber war.

According to the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, the spam-producing computers known as Rustock were recently stopped. The DCU had help from industry experts and gained necessary knowledge on Rustock from a previous operation against the Waledac botnet, called Operation b49.

The Rustock botnet accounted for approximately 200 billion spam messages daily in 2010, which accounted for nearly half of the spam sent globally, according BBC News.

The botnet’s volume has been sporadic recently, with spikes in activity lasting 12 to 16 hours, Vincent Hanna, of an anti-spam group told BBC News.

"The botnet controllers can use legitimate websites - such as headlines from news sites - to identify where the new instructions can be found," said security research Paul Wood to the news provider. "The malware used embeds itself deep in the operating system, making it difficult to identify.”

The hacker group anonymous recently announced plans for further cyber attacks against global financial targets, upping the stakes in this cyber war. The group produced a video distributed through YouTube outlining its plan to attack Federal Reserve, the International Monetary Fund, the Bank for International Settlements and the World Bank.