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March 17, 2011

Rustock botnet dries up once more

by Darren Allan

The Rustock botnet has apparently gone offline – or been derailed.

Botnets are responsible for the vast majority of spam which clogs up inboxes across the world, and Rustock is a major offender.

Spam levels dropped hugely at Christmas, when Rustock and several other botnets took a holiday along with everyone else.

And now it seems Rustock has unexpectedly gone quiet again, PCMag.com reports. Multiple sources are reporting the botnet is down, with many believing this is an organised take-down.

Although quite who has organised it is another matter, with no one admitting to that currently, if it is an anti-spam operation.

While Rustock was easily the biggest spammer throughout 2010, this year other botnets have stepped up their activity, with a more consistent output (Rustock tends to function in big spikes of activity). So even with Rustock down, global spam levels apparently haven’t been hugely impacted thus far.

The botnet is likely to be up and running again soon, at any rate. Even if this is a major targeted operation which has succeeded, the Rustock cyber-criminals will have back-up plans in place, and will get their Viagra messages flowing again soon enough.

In the meantime, this week there might just be a bit less clutter in your spam folder.

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