One researcher has pointed to a Russian spam group and the SpamThru Trojan as a major force behind the recent jump in stock and pharmaceutical junk e-mail.
In a report released earlier this week, Joe Stewart, a senior security researcher at SecureWorks, has found evidence that a group of technically adept Russian spammers has used the SpamThru Trojan to create a bot net of more than 70,000 computers. The compromised systems are used to send junk e-mail carrying pump-and-dump stock scams and advertisements for pharmaceuticals.
The Russian group may be responsible for at least part of the increase in spam seen over the last three months, according to an article in eWeek. The surge--detailed in a SecurityFocus article at the end of October--has caused companies to see anywhere from 30 percent to 450 percent more junk e-mail in the past three months.
The findings adds to evidence that bot nets are increasingly becoming the tool of choice for cyber criminals. The people behind the bot nets, known as bot masters or bot herders, frequently amass thousands, hundreds of thousands and, sometimes, millions of compromised computers together to more efficiently attack targets or send spam. One company--anti-spam startup Blue Security--fell afoul of one large spammer, who used bot nets to launch massive denial-of-service attacks against the company, driving the firm out of the anti-spam business.
Computers in at least 166 countries are part of the bot net controlled by the Russian spammers, Stewart stated in the analysis.
Posted by: Robert Lemos