01.28.09

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Windows Botnets Go Out of Control, Obama Web Site Delivers Windows Malware

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 10:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

THERE ARE SO MANY MICROSOFT failure stories to share today that it’s hard to decide where to start.

Sites Hijacked

Microsoft’s security nightmares as of late [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] are where we begin by presenting the following report about a government site in Australia getting cracked and doing enough harm that it needed to be shut down.

Like you, I get masses of spam. I knew it wasn’t from jobs.nsw.gov.au no matter how much it pretended to be. I deleted it figuring it was “just another” bit of junk mail, although I was surprised to find one purporting to be from the NSW Government job board; that was definitely a new one on me!

Had I thought about it deeper I might have considered this was no ordinary spam. This time there was a direct relationship between how the spammers got my e-mail address and the organisation they purported to represent.

It turns out the Department of Commerce has taken this whole incident very seriously indeed, and far more than common garden-variety spam would necessitate.

If you visit the site jobs.nsw.gov.au you will see it is inaccessible, and in fact, has been for a week. A message advises that the system is down for “system maintenance.”

The site is powered by Microsoft IIS.

Moving on a little, it turns out that Obama’s Web site too is causing harm. Some pages in it are distributing Windows malware.

Web security firm Websense reports that malicious hackers have registered multiple bogus user accounts on My.BarackObama.com. The site allows legitimate punters to join groups, raise funds, or creates blogs. The griefers have established blogs with fake YouTube clips, ostensibly offering grumble flicks.

According to some new statistics, there is a sharp increase in distribution of Windows malware, with more malicious sites than one can practically keep track of:

AVG is seeing between 200,000 to 300,000 new Web sites per day hosting code that can in some cases result in a PC being infected with malware just by visiting the site, said Roger Thompson, AVG’s chief research officer.

Zombies/Botnets Explode

Conficker is still running wild and it’s draining resources along its path (human resources and Web resources).

The world’s top virus hunters are watching every move made by the attacker in control of a nasty new Internet worm — referred to as “downadup” or “conficker.”

The number of infected Windows PCs keeps growing fast.

A virulent computer virus has infected as many as 15 million computers around the world so far, according to various estimates.

The virus — a self-replicating computer worm known as Downadup, Conficker or Kido — spreads across computer networks using Microsoft Windows software which have not been patched or updated properly. Microsoft issued a patch that fixes the vulnerability the virus exploits last October.

This is also covered here.

Computer experts are preparing to respond to further virus outbreaks and security threats posed by the Windows worm, known as Conficker, Kido and Downadup, which has infected more than 15 million PCs worldwide.

Had Microsoft cared about security rather than premature announcements (vapourware) and irresponsible releases, the Internet would have been a better and safer place to travel.

“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

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5 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    January 28, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Gravatar

    Over the years there have been various Internet milestones. e.g. www passing telnet, then passing ftp-data. ogg vorbis passing 12% of audio, etc. e-mail becoming 60% then 90% spam from windows botnets.

    At what point does (has) the point where the majority of traffic is windows malware get passed?

    Internet has been good, but is in terminal stage windows infestation. Internet2 died on the vine in part because of MS and probably in part because of Doug. How about Internet3, starting with a flat out ban on closed protocols *and* a prohibition against any Windows or MS products…

  2. Needs Sunlight said,

    January 28, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Gravatar

    Both the UPI article and the USA Today article have major errors. Both misidentify the worm as an “Internet” worm or a “computer” worm. It is neither. It is a Windows worm.

    110 years of journalistic excellence my ass.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 28, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Gravatar

    This is a very important point that Carla wrote about. I mentioned her 2 writings on this subject and gave a new example of Microsoft pressure groups muscling journalists.

  4. twitter said,

    January 28, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Gravatar

    Messing with the president’s website make a serious federal reaction for these idiots. It will be interesting to watch GWB’s wiretap program turned around to track the spammer’s network. (Who knows, Obama might even get the propper search warrants.) My prediction is that the botnet trail will lead back to WE and other corporate proxies and Obama will dig as deep as he can to find it and any other pieces of Republican guilt. Even if he can’t find that, the M$ cesspool is sure to have dire consequences for M$. We’ve already seen stories about him grumbling about White House computer backwardness and being forced to use a Winblows Mobile handset. Silly stories about iPods and Zunes must also chafe, who would not resent being used as an endorsement for something as rotten as Zune? Porn spam on his website might move Obama’s M$ relationship from disdain to hatred.

  5. Gentoo User said,

    January 28, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Gravatar

    Apparently you forgot to write up a nasty condemnation of all those PHP/Apache-based sites that were hacked to serve off malware a while ago. They targeted a vulnerability that had a readily-available patch weeks before the exploit was seen in the wild. And then they used Google bombs to draw traffic to the pages, if I recall.

    Oh no, wait. You didn’t forget, of course.

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