Security Officials Unsure What to Make of Massive Botnet Army

Dennis Faas's picture

Security officials have discovered a new botnet of infected computers capable of tremendous online destruction. Computers around the world have become infected in droves thanks to a steady stream of malicious email attachments that have continued to be released on a daily basis since August.

At its most volatile, a record high 25 billion malicious attachments were sent out in a single day in August, alone.

Botnet Delivers Altered Scam

Those responsible for the attacks have had to alter their deceitful strategies several times to expand their list of victims.

The first wave of malicious emails contained false notices from UPS and FedEx informing the individual that their package had been misrouted. Shortly thereafter, a PDF called "Map of Love" claimed to contain a map of interesting destinations around the world. The final wave of attacks came under the guise of an altered charge of a hotel room. (Source:

Clicking onto the malicious email attachments (in any form) causes the computer to be loaded with additional malware capable of performing a range of activities, including spamming, participating in DDoS attacks, stealing bank credentials and compromising email and social networking accounts.

According to several user forums, the malware campaigns seem to be successful, as millions of new machines continue to be compromised. While an exact number of infected machines remains uncertain, some reports are claiming linear success, meaning the more attachments sent, the more opened. (Source:

Botnet Agenda a Mystery

Exactly what the botnet will do remains a mystery, which is unsettling in its own right. If the purpose of the assembled botnet is to release spam, then the campaign has yet to make a dent in the overall spam traffic, which is actually currently experiencing a downward trend.

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