Botnets Set To Become Smarter In 2010

If findings of a recent research study are to be believed then instead of putting an effective check on spamming activities, we are increasingly falling victim to fraudulent activities on the online space.

An annual security research report from Symantec’s MessageLabs division has presented a grotesque picture of the cyber security landscape, with the report claiming that the spamming traffic accounted for a massive 87.7 percent of the total email traffic in 2009.

The spamming activity was highest in the month of February with 90.4 percent of overall email traffic, while it reached its lowest in May when it was 73.3 percent. A significant rise has been noted in the volume of junk mails from the past year when the spam rate is around 81.2 percent.

The most striking part of the report is that the majority of this spamming activity (around 83.4 percent) was attributed to zombie machines, indicating the extent to which the rogue applications are controlling the PCs across the globe.

The closure of a couple of botnet hosting ISPs, including McColo in 2008 and Real Host in August, has prompted cybercrooks to re-engineer their botnets to take the reins of the control and command system within hours, rather than weeks of relative calmness followed by the shutdown of McColo.

Citing the same, Paul Wood, a key analyst with the firm, said in a statement: “The McColo outage had a huge impact on spam volumes as it took a few weeks for spammers to recover, but we've seen this year botnet technology has evolved so that there is no longer a single point of failure”.

Our Comments

Cybercriminals are learning from their mistakes and investing massively, both in terms of human and financial resources; 2010 looks set to become yet another challenging year for the security industry worldwide as the rise of mobile computing makes it even easier to face security risks.

Related Links

2009 is the year of the botnet


Ruggedised botnets pushing out even more spam


Report claims that 2009 was a year of stronger botnets and increased spam detections as cybercriminals learnt lessons from McColo

(SC Magazine)

Report predicts rise of self-defending botnets

(Tech World)

Botnets to get more intelligent in 2010

(IT Pro)