Welcome!

Artificial Intelligence Authors: Liz McMillan, Zakia Bouachraoui, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White

News Feed Item

Second Massive Email Virus Attack in a Month Portends Explosive Growth in Fraud, Theft, Spam and Viruses

Storm Worm Drives Volume of Email Viruses on the Internet Upward by a Factor of 20

SAN CARLOS, Calif., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Postini, the global leader in on-demand communications security, compliance and productivity solutions for email, instant messaging and the web, today announced that hackers and spammers are raising their onslaught in 2007 as witnessed by two massive, global email-borne virus attacks which took place from December 29 to December 31, 2006 and again from January 19 to January 21, 2007. Each of these attacks was so large that they drove up the level of viruses on the Internet up by a factor of 20 over usual activity.

Both attacks were designed to steal personal information and hijack the recipient's computer to add to ever growing "bot-nets" - massive networks of infected personal computers used to distribute spam and virus attacks. The size and sophistication of these back to back attacks implies that spam and virus levels on the Internet, which are already at all-time highs, will continue to rise as newly hijacked computers are brought into action and begin spewing even more spam and viruses.

This latest attack has become known as the Storm worm because the original email subject line was, "230 dead as storm batters Europe". At the time of the email, there in fact was actually a heavy winter storm occurring in Europe. This is the latest example of the attackers' sophistication and real- time capabilities, launching the attack and timing it to coincide with real news about the storm. The email that contained the virus frequently mutated to show dozens of different fake, sensational but believable headlines designed to tempt the reader into clicking on an attachment and thus infecting their computer. Other subjects included, "Russian missile shot down USA aircraft" and "Saddam Hussein alive!"

The infectious email had a file attachment that contained a trojan horse virus known as Downloader-BAI or AUTH-W32/Downloader. If a person clicks on the attachment, their computer will become infected with the virus which then attempts to send personal information (including email addresses, financial information and credit card information) from that computer back to the hackers who created the virus. They can then use this information for identity theft or sell it to others. The virus also provides a back-door for hackers to take control of the computer and add it to a bot-net to be used in future spam and virus attacks. This attack also illustrated the escalating vicious cycle of spam and viruses being fueled by and creating bot-nets. The virus was distributed by email, which was sent from bot-net zombies that had been infected by previous email-borne viruses and the intent of the virus was to infect even more computers and turn them into larger bot-net zombie network to use in future spam and virus attacks. The email subject, content and virus all mutated many times over the course of the outbreak in an attempt to evade detection. Anti-virus engine providers had to issue several signature updates throughout the outbreak.

As the virus attack began, Postini's PREEMPT email protection service immediately began blocking the worm. Over the three day period, Postini stopped more than 29 million infected messages from reaching the 36,000 businesses Postini provides email security services for. On January 20, 2007 alone, Postini blocked almost 17 million infected email messages, nearly 20 times the average daily virus volume in 2006.

The January 2007 Storm worm follows on the heels of another email-borne virus, the Happy New Year worm, which attacked the Internet in late December 2006. The Happy New Year worm contained a subject line and an attachment exploiting the expectations of legitimate postcards and greetings from friends and families. The infected attachment contained numerous strains of malicious code (including Tibs, Nuwar, Banwarum, and Glowa) as well as two root kits designed to hide the presence of the malicious code from anti-virus scans. Ultimately, the goal of the Happy New Year worm was to create more zombie computers that could be added to bot-nets and used for additional spamming and other attacks.

Starting on December 28, 2006, Internet virus volumes began to dramatically increase and Postini PREEMPT email protection began blocking infected messages. At the peak of the outbreak on December 30, 2006, Postini blocked 19.5 million messages infected with the Happy New Year worm and its variants.

These two attacks were by far the largest to occur in the past 12 months. "The explosion of bot-nets, millions of infected computers controlled by malicious actors around the world, has changed the balance of power in the world communications security," said Daniel Druker, executive vice president of marketing at Postini. "As Valentines Day approaches, email users should continue to keep their guard up, as there are already new mutations of the Storm worm with love-related subject lines."

About Postini

Postini is the global leader in on-demand communications security, compliance and productivity solutions for email, instant messaging and the web. Postini offers an award-winning suite of on-demand services for electronic communications, including protection from viruses, spam, phishing, fraud and other attacks, secure messaging, and archiving, discovery and production of electronic messages. The company's powerful on-demand infrastructure integrates with customers' environments, providing security, compliance and productivity solutions for more companies than any other provider in the world. Postini's services are designed to protect organizations from a wide range of threats, reduce compliance and legal risks, ensure reliable communications, and enable the intelligent management and enforcement of enterprise policies that protect companies' intellectual property, reputations and business relationships. For more information please contact Postini at [email protected] or visit http://www.postini.com/ .

Media Contacts: Marty Tacktill Postini (650) 486-8269 [email protected] Derek Kober GlobalFluency (650) 433-4233 [email protected]

Postini

CONTACT: Marty Tacktill of Postini, +1-650-486-8269, or
[email protected]; or Derek Kober of GlobalFluency, +1-650-433-4233, or
[email protected]

Web site: http://www.postini.com/

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...