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Stormworm Trojan Threatens Campus

By Richard Anderson, Ph.D., Information Security Coordinator

Over the last several months UNT Information Security has detected continuous new infections by a computer trojan usually called "stormworm." It typically arrives as an email which contains a message enticing the user to click on a link. A typical trojan email might mention that you've received an "eCard", an eBay auction link, an online video (like YouTube), registration links, or
links to news articles. The emails are so varied that we expect them to evolve continuously, and the best defense is for users to read email with extreme caution. This malicious software specifically
attacks Microsoft Windows and once infected can even distribute the trojan from your computer.

The network of infected machines being used to propagate the malware is massive. I've seen estimates of the stormworm network ranging from 10 million infected machines[1] to 50 million nodes[2][3]. If these estimates are correct, the owners of the stormworm network have the computing power equivalent to one of the world's largest super computers dedicated to spreading malware, sending spam, conducting denial of service attacks, and other uses.

Again, here's the bottom line: the trojan doesn't actually come inside an email, rather it's installed after you click on the link in the email. Please beware of any unsolicited emails you receive, and avoid clicking on any links you receive in unexpected email.

References:

[1] World's most powerful supercomputer goes online
 
[2] Storm worm botnet more powerful than top supercomputers

[3] Storm Worm More Powerful Than Top Supercomputers

 
 


Originally published, September 2007 --  Please note that information published in Benchmarks Online is likely to degrade over time, especially links to various Websites. To make sure you have the most current information on a specific topic, it may be best to search the UNT Website - http://www.unt.edu . You can also search Benchmarks Online - http://www.unt.edu/benchmarks/archives/back.htm as well as consult the UNT Helpdesk - http://www.unt.edu/helpdesk/ Questions and comments should be directed to
benchmarks@unt.edu

 

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