Storm botnet stages Fourth of July attacks

Repeats holiday-theme spam blitz with file posing as fireworks video

As predicted, hackers tried to trick users into downloading the Storm bot Trojan Friday by unleashing a flood of Fourth of July spam bearing links to malicious sites, several security companies reported.

The spam campaign, anticipated earlier in the week by MX Logic, used messages with subject headings ranging from "Amazing firework 2008" and "Celebrating Fourth of July" to "Light up the sky" and "Spectacular fireworks show," said UK-based Sophos in an alert posted to the Web Friday.

Links in the spam led to hacker-controlled sites that trumpeted a video clip worth downloading. "Colorful Independence Day events have already started throughout the country," the malicious sites claimed. "The largest firework happens on the last weekday before the Fourth of July. Unprecedented sum of money was spent on this fabulous show. If you want to see the best Independence Day firework just click on the video and run it."

The file pitched to users was an executable: "fireworks.exe."

Users who agreed to the download didn't receive a video, but instead infected their Windows-running PCs with the Storm Trojan horse, which hijacked the system and added it to the existing collection of compromised computers making up the Storm botnet.

"You're not going to be feeling in the mood for celebrations if this malware infects your PC," said Graham Cluley, a Sophos senior technology consultant, in a statement.

Security researchers at F-Secure, the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Center (ISC) and Trend Micro also reported the Storm spam and infection attempts.

Storm's backers have regularly used holiday-themed spam to dupe users into downloading the Trojan and self-infecting their PCs. Last year, the bot was behind a massive surge in spam during July, and it has been linked to campaigns around Christmas and New Year's.

Earlier this year, Microsoft researchers said that their company's Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) had beaten Storm into submission, a claim contested by third-party security experts.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?