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Top 12 Spam Relaying Countries

Zombie-process

Image via Wikipedia

There’s a zombie invasion going on – and it could have infiltrated your business, your home office, or even the corner of your bedroom.

Of course, it’s not the kind of zombies beloved by the movie theatres but instead the problem of compromised computers being controlled by a remote hacker.

Many members of the public still haven’t understood that spammers don’t use their own PCs to send spam – instead they create botnets of commandeered computers around the globe (also known as “zombies”), which can be used to relay spam, send out malicious links and even launch distributed denial-of-service attacks.

If they did understand the problem, maybe they would put more effort into protecting their computers.

Spam dashboard

Sophos has today published a new report, revealing the top twelve spam-relaying countries around the world. We call the list the “dirty dozen”, and because virtually all spam is sent from compromised PCs, it’s a pretty good indication of where the botnets have got the tightest hold.

The top twelve spam relaying countries for January – March 2011

1. USA 13.7%
2. India 7.1%
3. Russia 6.6%
4. Brazil 6.4%
5. S Korea 3.8%
6. United Kingdom 3.2%
7. Italy 3.1%
7. France 3.1%
9. Spain 2.8%
10. Germany 2.6%
11. Romania 2.5%
12. Poland 2.3%
Other 42.8%

Although the USA and UK contribution to the global spam problem has decreased in percentage terms, it is essential for organizations not to become complacent. Financially-motivated criminals are controlling compromised zombie computers to not just launch spam campaigns, but also to steal identity and bank account information.

Computer users must be educated about the dangers of clicking on links or attachments in spam mails – and many computers may already be under the control of cybercriminals. Businesses and computer users must take a more proactive approach to spam filtering and IT security in order to avoid adding to this global problem.”

Dirty monitorIn all, we counted spam being sent from an astonishing 229 countries around the world during the first quarter of 2011. So everyone, no matter where they live, should be taking more care of their personal computer’s protection.

For as long as spam continues to make money for the spammers, it will continue to be a global problem. Too many computer users are risking a malware infection that sees their computer recruited into a spam botnet. To combat the spammers, it’s not only essential for computer users to run up-to-date security software, they must also resist the urge to purchase products advertised by spam.

So, don’t add to the statistics, do your bit in the fight against spam and don’t allow your computer to become a zombie.

Keeping your security patches up-to-date, your anti-virus defences in place and having a good helping of common sense can help avoid your computer from being recruited by the bad guys.

Source :- http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com

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Lord Gaga video banned? Twitter rogue app spread by scammers

Lady GaGa

Image by ama_lia via Flickr

Scammers are seeding an attack against Twitter users, posing as a banned video of “Lord Gaga” in an attempt to compromise accounts.

Using a selection of newly created Twitter accounts, which have the names and avatars of young women, the tweeted-out messages all look similar:

#pssst Lord Gaga VIDEO BANNED -----> [LINK] #onethingiveneverdone #cnn

Lord Gaga banned video tweets

The mention of “Lord Gaga” refers to a running-joke on Twitter today, about what would happen if Harry Potter villain Lord Voldermort and Lady Gaga hooked up. The hashtags, which can vary, appear to be taken from Twitter’s trending topics in an attempt to reach a wider audience.

Interestingly, in the above screenshot all of the Twitter profiles used to seed the scam campaign have adopted the names of women beginning with the letter “B”: Bianca, Berenice, Betania, and so forth..

It has been no surprise while writing this article to find that the scammers have now run out of “B” names and have moved onto female names beginning with the letter “C”..

These aren’t your usual Twitter profiles, and as can be seen in the example below, appear to be newly created specifically for the purposes of spreading the link.

Twitter attack seeder

What makes the profiles even more suspicious is that the only messages they have tweeted out so far have all been to the same place – a fake YouTube site, which pretends to host the banned video.

Lord Gaga video

Twitter’s security team would be wise to shut down the bogus profiles as soon as possible, before the attack spreads further because rather than playing a music video, clicking on the player will attempt to trick users into giving a rogue application the rights to access their Twitter account.

Would you authorise this Twitter app?

An app called “money works new” hardly sounds like it would be connected to a music video, and you would be wise not to give it access to your account. But, as we’ve seen in the past, Twitter users can be tricked by such an attack into making poor decisions.

Indeed, even Lady Gaga herself appears to have recently fallen foul of such a scam on Twitter.

If you do make the mistake of authorizing the app, the scammers won’t waste any time posting the same message from your account – hoping to entrap more victims.

Rogue app victim on Twitter

If you were unfortunate enough to grant a rogue applications access to your Twitter account, revoke its rights immediately by going to the Twitter website and visiting Settings/Connections and revoking the offending app’s rights.

Revoke app on Twitter

Don’t make it easy for scammers to make money in this way, and always exercise caution about which third party apps you allow to connect with your social networking accounts.

If you’re on Twitter and want to learn more about threats, be sure to follow Naked Security’s team of writers.

Source :- http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com

Unfollowed Me rogue application spreads virally on Twitter

Once again Twitter users are finding themselves hit by a fast-infecting attack, more commonly encountered by their Facebook-using cousins: a rogue application spreading virally across the network.

Thousands of Twitter users have fallen into the trap of allowing rogue third-party applications access their Twitter accounts, believing that it would tell them how many people have unfollowed them.

42 people have unfollowed me, find out how many have unfollowed you

A typical message reads:

58 people have unfollowed me, find out how many have unfollowed you: [LINK] #rw2011 #duringsexplease #youneedanasswhoopin

See the hashtags? They appear to be currently trending phrases on Twitter – presumably the rogue applications are using them in the messages they spam out in an attempt to trick more users into clicking on the links.

If you do click on the link you are asked to give authorisation for a third-party application to access your Twitter account.

Rogue application on Twitter

Don’t, whatever you do, press the “Allow” button. If you do, then a third party is now capable of tweeting messages in your name to all of your Twitter followers – which spreads the scam virally across Twitter and may result in one of your online friends also having their account compromised.

So, how do the scammers make money? That’s the next piece of the jigsaw.

You’re anxious to find out who has unfollowed you on Twitter. The scammers take advantage of that by presenting a webpage which looks as if it’s about to reveal that information – but is actually designed to make you take an online survey instead.

Rogue application survey scam

The scammers make money for each survey that is completed.

If you were unfortunate enough to grant one of these rogue applications access to your Twitter account, revoke its rights immediately by going to the Twitter website and visiting Settings/Connections and revoking the offending app’s rights.

Revoke rogue app rights

(Note that the scammers are using a variety of different applications – so you may see a different name from the one I picture above).

Don’t make it easy for scammers to make money in this way, and always exercise caution about which third party apps you allow to connect with your social networking accounts.

If you’re on Twitter and want to learn more about threats, be sure to follow Naked Security’s team of writers.

Source : – http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com

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