New botnet ‘Maazben’ experiences rapid growth
Botnets are responsible for sending 87.9% of all spam, according to latest monthly results from the Symantec’s MessageLabs Intelligence Report.
The results showed that a newer botnet, Maazben has experienced rapid growth since its infancy in late May mainly sending out casino-related spam while Rustock, one of the oldest and largest botnets, has doubled in size since June.
According to the report, Maazben’s growth has increased from 0.5% of all spam in August to 1.4% in September, while Rustock is the largest in terms of number of bots at 1.3 to 1.9 million bots but has kept its output per bot relatively low. Rustock was responsible for 10% of all spam.
Two other botnets, Grum and Bobax have taken over as the most active botnets for spam distribution. Grum, half the size of Rustock was responsible for 23.2% of spam, while Bobax was responsible for 15.7% of spam. Previously, Cutwail was responsible for 45.8% of spam.
Paul Wood, MessageLabs Intelligence senior analyst at Symantec, said: “Over the past year, we have seen a number of ISP’s taken offline for hosting botnet activity resulting in a case of sink or swim and an ensuing shift in botnet power.
“This has undermined the power of the more dominant botnets like Cutwail and cleared the way for new botnets like Maazben to emerge. However, this won’t always be the case as botnet technology has also evolved since the end of 2008 and the most recent ISP closures now have less of an impact on resulting activity as downtime now only lasts a few hours rather than weeks or months as before.”
The research reported that, in September, the global ratio of spam in email traffic from new and previously unknown bad sources was 86.4%, reflecting a 2.1% decrease since August. Spam levels averaged 88.1% in the third quarter of 2009, compared to 81% in the same period last year.
The global ratio of email-borne viruses in email traffic from new and previously unknown bad sources was one in 399.2 emails (0.25%) in September, a decrease of 0.09% since August. Phishing activity was one in 437.1 email (0.23%), an increase of 0.06% since August.
Geographically, Denmark was the most spammed country in September with spam levels at 95.6% of all email. Spam increased to 91.8% and 91.2% in Canada, while it rose to 91.7% in the UK. The largest increase in spam was for Sweden where spam levels rose by 7.2% to 89.6%, according to report.