Tag Archives: Botnets

Kelihos and Maazben botnets in U.S. October 2012 SpamRankings.net

We’ve seen that botnets Kelihos and Maazben account for most of the spam seen from the entirely-new worldwide top 10 in the October 2012 Kelihos rampage. What about a specific country? The October 2012 U.S. SpamRankings.net from CBL data U.S. top 10 SpamRankings.net are also entirely new (since last month): are all those U.S. ASNs ranked like that because of the Kelihos rampage? Two clues indicate yes: the shapes of the U.S. curves are very similar to those of the worldwide rankings, and the U.S. top 3 are in the worldwide top 10. But what about the rest of the U.S. top 10? Let’s drill down to botnets in U.S. October 2012 SpamRankings.net from CBL data:

Botnets in U.S. October 2012 SpamRankings.net from CBL data

We can see 9 out of the U.S. top 10 are there mostly because of Maazben or Kelihos, often alternating for the same ASN, in the same pattern as for the worldwide top 10. So yes, 9 are in the U.S. top 10 because of the Kelihos rampage.

The one exception is Continue reading

Why no kelihos rampage in PSBL October 2012 SpamRankings.net?

Why do the PSBL Volume October 2012 SpamRankings.net rankings from PSBL data not look much like the October 2012 rankings from CBL data in SpamRankings.net? Apparently because PSBL does not use the heuristic that CBL uses that catches the few IP addresses that are spewing hundreds of thousands or millions of spam messages a day. Is this lack of correspondence between the CBL and PSBL rankings a problem?

What would be the point of having multiple rankings if they always showed the same results? CBL Volume October 2012 SpamRankings.net But these are very different results: none of the CBL top 10 show up in the PSBL top 10! How can both the PSBL and CBL rankings be correct?

  1. First, “correct” for such rankings does not mean completely accurate and it does not mean completely precise: no blocklist will ever detect every spam message emitted by every IP address. Suppose even mighty NSA (No Such Agency) were to copy every bit that passed over every major ISP in the U.S. Even that would miss some bits emitted by for example an ISP in Vietnam that spammed an ISP in India. And what heuristics would mighty NSA use to detect all the spam from all those bits? Would those heuristics happen to include the same one CBL is using to detect the Kelihos rampage? Would they include some further heuristic of which CBL has not yet thought that would detect some other rampage? Quite possibly yes and yes. Any rankings of anything on the Internet are always approximate records of hints and whispers of a constantly-shifting reality that can never be completely pinned down.
  2. Second, correct for rankings means comparable among the ASNs ranked, so that they can be ranked. In that sense, yes, both the PSBL and CBL rankings are correct: they merely show different aspects of the spam symptom of defective infosec for the ranked ASNs.
  3. Third, any systematically ranked symptom of poor infosec is important. Does any organization want any of its hosts to be spewing hundreds of thousands of spam messages a day, as in those ASNs in the CBL top 10? Does any organization want any of its hosts to be spewing enough spam in aggregate to turn up in the PSBL top 10? Probably not.
Besides, actually the CBL data does corroborate the PSBL data, when viewed in another set of rankings. Continue reading

Kelihos and Maazben botnets in October 2012 SpamRankings.net

Let's look at the botnets associated with the Kelihos rampage in the October 2012 SpamRankings.net. Two botnets turn up the most Maazben and Kelihos. Why call it the Kelihos rampage, then?

World Top 10 and botnets

Because CBL's detection of each botnet depends on numerous continually-evolving heuristics, and in this case the same one is being triggered for both Maazen and Kelihos, and CBL thinks that particular heuristic is more characteristic of Kelihos.

The pattern is easier to see if we look at a single ASN's botnets, such as #1 ranked AS 16276 OVH Systems:

Continue reading

Kelihos rampage in October 2012 SpamRankings.net

What's the Kelihos rampage mentioned in the October 2012 World CBL SpamRankings.net October 2012 SpamRankings.net? It's a few IP addresses sending hundreds of thousands and even millions of spam messages a day. It seems to be associated with Kelihos botnet.

Those few addresses spewed so much spam they pushed entire countries, October 2012 Countries CBL SpamRankings.net The Kelihos rampage pushed many countries, including France France, Germany Germany, Hong Kong Hong Kong, Thailand Thailand, Canada Canada, Hungary Hungary, Belarus Belarus, Paraguay Paraguay, Singapore Singapore(!), and Mexico Mexico, to the top of the countries ranking.

Should we rank an ASN at the top of the world because of only a few addresses? We considered that at some length, but in the end it's no different from what's been going on with the medical rankings for a long time, except on larger scales (all ASNs, and many more messages from a few addresses).

These rankings don't mean the affected organizations aren't vigilant. They do seem to mean those organizations have an infestation they need to deal with.


ISPs, spam, and botnets? a case in Finland

In Finland, some ISPs proactively detect spamming botnets and do something about it.

A small company that does computer maintenance, “HS-Works Oy” located in Helsinki, HS-Works Oy Finland, received a computer from a customer that needed to be fixed since it was acting slow. HS-Works personnel hooked up the malfunctioning computer to the company’s switch to gain Internet access and so they could control it over their LAN.

Sonera After the computer was through the LAN to the Internet for a while, the local ISP (Sonera) realized someone from HS-Works was connecting to a known botnet and acting in possibly malicious way. So what did the ISP do?

The solution was rigid: they closed the Internet connection from HS-works and informed the company via an SMS message that there had been illicit or malicious connections originating from their IP address and the connection would remain closed until the problem was solved. All web traffic was directed to the ISP’s “Access blocked” page, which offers a link to a free 30-day trial of Sonera Internet Security package (F-Secure software branded under Sonera name).

Network access would be returned after the infected host was fixed or removed from the network. The company raised their firewalls to a more strict level and got the Internet access back on the same day.

How about Finland’s ranking in spam listings in general and the rest of the big Finnish ISP policies on spam? Stay tuned, more information about these on the next post!

-Sami Sainio

No Festi dip in LACNIC, July 2012 SpamRankings.net

There was a dip in volume from the top 20 Festi-infested ASNs starting about 15 July 2012, bottoming out 21 July 2012, except one region’s ASNs did not dip.

Festi top 20

The three Latin American ASNs in the Festi botnet top 20 spammers did not dip:

Those are the only three LACNIC ASNs in the top 20 ASNs for Festi. Perhaps NIC policies matter? Or maybe it’s something in regional national infosec policies? It could still be national infosec policies, but why were all the other big Brazilian ASNs not Festi-infested?

But wait! Two others also did not dip:

Continue reading

Festi in the rest of the top Turkish 7 SpamRankings.net 2012-08 CBL data

We’ve already looked at TTNET, which pushed Turkey Turkey to the top of the spamming world in July 2012, and KOCNET, ditto in August. What about other Turkish ASNs? The next five are AS 12735 ASTURKNET, AS 12978 DOGAN-ONLINE, AS 16135 TURKCELL, AS 29179 KIBRISONLINE-AS, and AS 8517 ULAKNET, in the August SpamRankings.net from both CBL and PSBL data. You guessed it: they’re all infested with Festi botnet, too.

Festi Turkish top 7-2 June-August 2012 SpamRankings.net CBL data

Festi Turkish top 7-2 June-August 2012 SpamRankings.net CBL data
Graph by John S. Quarterman for SpamRankings.net.


Festi pushes KOCNET to #1 in Turkey and #3 in the world

Festi botnet spam made KOCNET beat TTNET to #1 in Turkey for the first time ever in August 2012 SpamRankings.net, in rankings from both CBL and PSBL data. While TTNET managed to stop most spam from Festi botnet, Festi spam from KOCNET massively ramped up.

KOCNET July-August 2012

Graph by John S. Quarterman for SpamRankings.net.

Both ISPs hit a Festi low on 21 July, which raises the speculation that that low had nothing to do with infosec efforts by the ISPs, and more to do with something going on inside Festi. After that low, TTNET briefly started back up with Festi, but then dropped down. KOCNET just kept going up. Up so far that KOCNET made #3 in the world in rankings from CBL data and #4 in the world in rankings from PSBL data, pushing Turkey itself up to #4 (CBL) and #5 (PSBL).

TTNET had already pushed Turkey last month to #4 (CBL) and #6 (PSBL). It was Festi then, and it’s Festi now, but the lead Turkish ISP has changed: last month it was TTNET, this month it’s KOCNET. It’s a problem when a botnet parasite can just move on to a new host like that. Do TTNET and KOCNET even know this is happening?


TTNET ejected Festi but still infested with Lethic and other botnets 2012-07,2012-08

Congratulations to Turkey's TTNET's AS 9121 for getting Festi botnet spam down from more than a million messages a day to less than 100,000!


However, Festi is still in there, and TTNET has other problems, as well, including Lethic, Cutwail, Waledac, Maazben, and even Grum(!) botnets, plus Sendsafe.

Continue reading

Festi botnet infesting the world, July 2012

Autonomous Systems (ASes) infested with Festi botnet spammed more than any others worldwide, pushing whole new countries such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey into the top of the top 20 countries in the July SpamRankings.net, and pushing India to number 1 worldwide. . Here we look at the top 10 ASes infested by Festi.

Taking off like a rocket was SaidiNet's AS 25019 SAUDINETSTC-AS of Saudi Arabia. Rising almost as fast was National Internet Backbone's AS 9829 BSNL-NIB of India. Also on an upwards path was academic network AS 8386 KOCNET of Turkey.

Linear Top 10 ASNs with Festi botnet

Linear Top 10 ASNs with Festi botnet
Chart by John S. Quarterman for SpamRankings.net.

Maybe already peaked were AS 24560 AIRTELBROADBAND-AS-AP – Bharti Airtel Ltd. AS 9121 TTNET – TTnet AS AS 17813 MTNL-AP – Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. and AS 18101 RIL-IDC – Reliance Infocom Ltd Internet Data Centre

We will examine Festi more in later blog posts.