Microsoft takes down major fake drug spam network

Mar 18, 2011
Microsoft on Thursday announced the dismantling of a "notorious and complex" network of virus-infected computers used to send billions of email messages daily hawking fake drugs.

Microsoft on Thursday announced the dismantling of a "notorious and complex" network of virus-infected computers used to send billions of email messages daily hawking fake drugs.

The Rustock "" consisted of about a million computers that were infected with to let hackers covertly control the machines from afar using "command and control" servers.

Owners of infected computers are typically not aware that hackers are using their machines.

"Bot-herders infect computers with in a number of ways, such as when a computer owner visits a website booby-trapped with malware and clicks on a malicious advertisement or opens an infected email attachment," said Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit senior attorney Richard Boscovich.

"Bot-herders do this so discretely that owners often never suspect their PC (personal computer) is living a double life."

Rustock was reported to be among the world's largest spam botnets and was capable of sending as many as 30 billion emails per day.

Much of the email sent by Rustock advertised counterfeit or unapproved knock-off versions of drugs like Viagra, while other spam tried to dupe people with bogus Microsoft lottery notices, according to Boscovich.

Microsoft worked with Viagra-maker Pfizer and network security firm FireEye during a months-long investigation that culminated with using US warrants to seize "command and control" servers in the western state of Washington.

Rustock was knocked offline on Wednesday when the connection was severed between infected computers and the machines used to give them orders, according to Boscovich.

Evidence seized was being analyzed for clues about the hackers and their operations. Microsoft was offering tools at support.microsoft.com/botnets to purge the malware from .

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User comments : 2

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jamesrm
5 / 5 (2) Mar 18, 2011
"Bot-herders infect computers with malware in a number of ways, such as when a computer owner" uses a microsoft product

rgds
jms
frajo
not rated yet Mar 19, 2011
Much of the email sent by Rustock advertised counterfeit or unapproved knock-off versions of drugs
They don't send spam just for fun; they are being paid.
As long as the sponsors of spam are not going to be punished the plague will continue unabashed.

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