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 Wednesday, 15 August 2007

On an article by InformationWeek, researchers are blaming the virulent Storm worm for a widespread denial-of-service attack that hit Canadian Web sites over the weekend, saying the attack could have been a test of the might of a botnet more than 1.7 million zombies strong.

Johannes Ullrich of the SANS Institute and the Internet Storm Center, said in an interview that "the DoS part was basically an unintentional side effect. It was a whole lot of spam -- enough to make the servers slow down. Once [that much spam] is set loose, it's hard to tell what's going to happen."

The Storm worm has been bombarding the Internet with massive amount of spam e-mails in the form of phony electronic greeting cards for the past several months. This emails lure unsuspecting users to malicious Web sites where their machines are infected with malware that turns them into bots, which adds them up to the massive botnet that the Storm worm authors have been putting together. However, the latest attack used e-mails with limited amount of text instead of the e-card ruse though, which confirms the attack was a test-run, according to Ullrich.

In the first half of this year, it has been reported that the Storm authors had a botnet about 2,815 strong according to the researchers at SecureWorks. That number had skyrocketed to 1.7 million by the end of July. Researchers at both SecureWorks and Postini said they think the Storm worm authors are cultivating such an enormous botnet to do more than send out increasing amounts of spam. All of the bots are set up to launch DoS attacks and that's exactly what they're anticipating.

Read the full article here.