The Trojan Spammer: You

By | June 2, 2004

You, my friend, may be the problem.

Further to my earlier posting about worms, here’s another piece from Sandvine (actually today, I think: This was the one I was looking for originally. So far it’s not on their website): It looks at how spam trojans — the bits dropped on board a PC by the worms mentioned earlier — are causing huge headaches, since they are turning home computers into the infrastructure through which most spam is sent. That means you. “Spam trojans,” Sandvine says, ”are likely responsible for up to 80% of all spam.” I’ve heard even higher figures.

Sandvine goes on: “What used to be merely a nuisance is becoming a major headache for service providers of all sizes. Contrary to the seedy stereotype of lone spammers looking to “get rich quick,” feverishly toiling away in dark basements, the vast majority of spam now emanates from home computers infected with spam trojans.” Well yes, but that’s somewhat misleading: In fact there still are sleazy lone spammers out there, it’s just that they send their stuff via home PCs these days, rather than PCs in their basement. They’re still feverishly toiling: It’s just they’ve found a way to shave a good deal off their hardware costs.

But I think they’re right when they say this: “In fact, many of the most well-publicized worm attacks in recent months were launched expressly to install spam trojans on unsuspecting end users’ machines — waiting to be utilized at a later date as a spam delivery relay.” I find it surprising this kind of thing is not spelt out more clearly: You’d be hard pressed to find this included in a description of a worm on an anti-virus site. Why is that?