Researchers at Marshal on Thursday said the Rustock botnet has become the world’s top spam producer, clogging email systems with junk messages that use bogus CNN headlines. They attributed 31.1% of all spam this week to Rustock, which barely surpassed the 30.7% blamed on the Srizbi botnet.
Rustock began spewing large amounts of spam with fake news headlines in late June but has since altered the appearance of the bogus emails to be more deceptive, according to researchers at Marshal’s Threat Research and Content Engineering Team (TRACE). This week, the Rustock-produced spam featured a “CNN.com Daily Top” list of real headlines. The headlines link to a bogus Web-hosted CNN video that exploits Internet Explorer vulnerabilities or tries to get the user to download an executable, they said.