Storm: The largest botnet in the world?

Researchers say the Storm malware may be the world's "most productive" virus, with more than 1 million PC infections

Considering how profitable crime on the Internet has become, there's no reason to believe that Storm will die down; last month at a conference McAfee CEO David DeWalt said cybercrime has become a US$105 billion business, making it worth more than the worldwide illegal drug trade.

Members of the Storm botnet also can be programmed to act as Web servers that download other malicious code, as well as participants in a distributed DoS attack, researchers say.

While Storm spam doesn't cause much concern among enterprise IT departments -- because antispam vendors usually catch on to the latest spam blast and update their filters within days, if not hours -- the potential of unknowingly having corporate assets become part of this huge botnet that's committing crime across the Internet does cause concern.

"We have real-time network traffic monitoring tools implemented across [Argonne National Laboratory]'s networks to ensure that we quickly become aware of 'bad' behavior, especially bot-type/malware behavior," says David Salbego, Unix and operations service manager with Argonne National Laboratory's computing and information systems department. "While no system is perfect, simply relying on not becoming infected is not sufficient -- one must be able to definitely prove that machines are not infected and/or not communicating with known `bad guys.'"

Storm a step ahead

Another feature of Storm that keeps researchers on their toes is the malware's ability to constantly change in attempts to keep one step ahead of prevention measures.

"We detect the exploits Storm uses to force its way in," Thompson adds. "At one point they were actually changing what they were installing as often as every minute to avoid antivirus programs."

Another antivirus vendor agrees that while Storm isn't the worst piece of malware the Internet has seen, its versatility gives it longevity.

"I don't think Storm is doomsday; I still think people can use the Internet safely," says Dave Marcus, security research and communications manager at McAfee Avert Labs. "But I also don't think it's going to subside any time soon, because of the many ways it can be used. It's something we have to stay vigilant about."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Cara Garretson

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?