Computer threats in February capitalize on Valentine's Day

Thursday, March 3, 2011

During February in Latin America, computer threats took advantage of Valentine's Day, while the Waledec botnet resurfaced, according to a report from the regional unit of Czech antivirus and security software developer Eset.

As the number of searches and websites related to Valentine's Day grew in February, the day was the event most used by attackers to spread malicious codes. The hackers attacked websites with postcards, photos and wallpapers with love themes.

They also used social networks to spread threats. On Twitter, for example, attackers utilized spam messages with content related to Valentine's Day and gifts. When the user clicked on links in the messages, they were sent to an unsolicited advertisement page and then immediately directed to a malicious website to download adware.

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Eset's Latin American analysis and investigation lab reported a new infection campaign from the Waledec botnet. This botnet first surfaced in February 2009, but was thought to have later stopped operating. In February this year, however, a large amount of spam was sent from infected machines through an update of the botnet.

Infected computers immediately begin sending spam to email accounts from legitimate and popular email servers instead of malicious ones. According to Eset, this shows that a large botnet is not necessary to send a lot of spam, and that Waledec has not disappeared but will in fact grow in quantity and size.