Storm Worm sent 15 million pump-and-dump e-mails last month

Storm worm sent out 15 million MP3 pump-and-dump spams in October.

The Storm Worm botnet network may be shrinking in size, but it has managed to send out 15 million of those annoying audio spam messages in October, according to antispam vendor, MessageLabs.

It's hard to believe that the Storm messages were effective. Recipients had to first click on an attachment -- usually given a misleading name like beatles.mp3 or Britney.mp3 -- to hear the stock pitch, which featured a warbly robotic woman advising people to invest in online car seller, Exit Only.

This kind of scam, called "pump-and-dump", tries to nudge up the price of penny stocks by a cent or two, giving the spammers a way to make a quick buck by selling the stock before it crashes. Spammers have been delivering their messages in different formats, including .pdf and Excel files, over the past few years as part of a cat-and-mouse game with spam blockers. This latest move to MP3 spam is the latest development in this battle, observers say.

Spam watchers say that pump-and-dump schemes are the hottest and most lucrative area for spammers today.

The spam run began on Oct. 17, and lasted about 36 hours, using infected computers in the Storm Worm network to send out the mails, MessageLabs said in a statement. The spam sounded strange and warbly because the voice in the message was "synthesized using a very low compression rate of 16K Hz to keep the overall file size small, at around 50 KB, to avoid detection," the company said.

Storm is thought to have landed on as many as 15 million PCs over the past year, but recently its network of infected PCs has been shrinking. University of California, San Diego, researchers recently pegged it at about 160,000 computers, only 20,000 of which are accessible at any one time.

Exit Only said it was not involved in sending the spam. Its stock was trading around US$0.41 on October 18, the day after the Storm spam started. On Tuesday it closed at US$0.20.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service

Comments

Daniel - Sell Used Cars

1

Not Afraid of Viruses

As long as there is an internet there will always be spam and viruses.
Even with the advent of more advanced anti virus suites hackers crackers and spammers are always going to find ways to bypass them. It is fundamental human nature to always resist or rebel against order. It shows clearly with the creation of new kinds of spam and viruses. Great blog.

Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Compare & Save

Deals powered by WhistleOut
Use WhistleOut's technology to compare:
Mobile phone plans & deals
Mobile phone models
Mobile phone carriers
Broadband plans & deals
Broadband providers
Deals powered by WhistleOut
WhistleOut

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?