THERE HAS BEEN a massive drop in spam hitting email inboxes due to the Rustock botnet apparently having been disabled by a person or persons unknown.
M86 Security found that the flood of junk emails generated by the Rustock botnet, which has been considered the world's most active spam botnet, completely stopped from 3pm yesterday. Rustock is infamous due to the sheer volume of spam it generated, usually consisting of online pharmacy and male enhancement pill advertisements.
Nobody truly knows why the Rustock botnet is suddenly offline. But there are rumours that it was due to a coordinated attack from anti-spam activists. It is possible that they managed to shut off the command-and-control servers that infected computers in the botnet need to communicate with.
Of course Rustock might simply have been abandoned, but this seems unlikely. As early as last year Symantec reported spam levels had gone up due to an aggressive campaign to increase the size of the botnet. There's also no way to say whether the Rustock botnet shutdown will be permanent.
Phil Hay of M86 Security said, "Whatever the reason, let's hope this one sticks. Previous attempts at botnet shutdowns have tended to be short lived as the botnet herders simply regroup and start again. It's too early to say bye bye Rustock, but the thought is certainly nice." µ
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