Botnet attacks military systems

BitDefender researchers say the botnet is one of the most complicated and mysterious they've ever seen

Security researchers have discovered a complex spamming scheme that hijacks users' PCs in order to attempt to send junk mail via university and military systems.

Researchers at Romania-based BitDefender said the scheme, based on a backdoor called Edunet, was one of the most complicated and mysterious they've come across.

"It's not every day that you stumble on the workings of an honest-to-God hacking ring, let alone one that has a predilection for using military and university-run mail servers as spam relays," said Sorin Dudea, BitDefender's head of anti-virus research, in a statement.

The scam starts with junk emails that offer links to videos. When a user clicks on the link he is prompted to download a "media player" - something that should in itself ring alarm bells, since most videos currently use players embedded in a web page or in the operating system itself.

The "media player" download is in fact the Edunet backdoor, which creates a botnet used to attempt to send spam via a list of mail servers, BitDefender said.

One of the curiosities of Edunet is that these mail servers are mostly in the .edu and .mil domains. On these servers the botnet looks for open relays - a type of misconfiguration often used by spammers to disguise the real origins of the junk mail.

"It would be interesting to identify what, if anything, the institutions that own the targeted servers have in common," BitDefender's Dudea stated.

So far, the scheme doesn't seem to have been very effective, since none of the targeted servers actually host open relays, BitDefender said.

While the list of targets has remained fixed, the botnet takes its commands from a list of servers that is constantly changing, making it difficult to pin down where the commands are coming from, the company said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matthew Broersma

Techworld.com
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?