We wrote about them last month and you’ve probably had a load in your inbox by now, but according to Web security experts, the spoofed news spam messages are now being churned out at up to 5 million every hour.
If you’re one of the few lucky souls on the planet that isn’t being plagued by these messages, the spam purports to be
a CNN and MSNBC news alert, showing a listing of (sometimes) vaguely convincing fake news headlines covering celebrities, politics and other current issues.
Although the email carries the branding, logos and style of the official news websites, all the innocent-looking links in the messages take hapless punters to dodgy pages which try to install malware on their computer, usually by inviting them to download a codec which is supposedly required for them to watch a video on the page.
Needless to say, agreeing to install the codec results in the Gates Of Spamageddon opening wide.
According to an iTWire article, most of the spams originate from computers (many of which would probably be malware-infected) with .br, .com, .in and .tw domains, with the embedded links pointing to hijacked sites ending in .com, .es, .pl, and .ru URLs.
Commenting on this latest epidemic of steenkin’ spam, security researcher Chris Astacioat at Websense said, “Another dangerous aspect of these CNN and MSNBC emails is the intensity with which the messages have been sent.”
“In this campaign alone, our Threatseeker Network has seen as many as 5 million messages sent, per hour, from multiple hosts worldwide,” he added.
The sheer volume of fake messages being churned out shows how effective ‘botnets’ can be when it come to propagating spam (a Botnet is a collection of compromised computers – ‘zombie computers’ – running iffy software, usually installed via worms, Trojan horses, or backdoors, under a common command-and-control infrastructure.)
Five million spams an hour might sound an horrendous figure, but security provider Marshal recently claimed the 315,000+ system Srizbi botnet was simply hewn from solid evil, being capable of spinning out a heart-sinking 7.8 billion spams per hour!