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!

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.
Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
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?