Storm returns to non-holiday spam

After a spate of holiday-themed attacks, the Storm Worm creators are going back to basics with their latest spam run that launched Sunday.

The new campaign, which continued into Monday, reverts back to generic Storm tactics in which messages claiming to contain an e-card greeting actually contain a trojan.

According to Stephen Hall, a handler at the SANS Internet Storm Center, some of the subjects in the new batch include:  

“Your e-card joke is waiting”
“send you an ecard”
“online greeting waiting”

“Watch your inbox,” Hall advised readers of the SANS Storm Center blog, “and let's hope the [anti-virus] vendors jump on this quickly.”

Ken Dunham, director of global response at iSight Partners, told on Monday that the attack started on Sunday to coincide with the start of the work week in Asia.

“It's just another Storm run as far as I can tell,” Dunham said. “They're trying to get more bots and more controls so they can do more nefarious things.”

He said the Storm Worm botnet gained muscle during the holiday season, when trick emails centered their social engineering techniques on popular occasions, such as Thanksgiving, New Year's Day and Valentine's Day.

“Storm was doing heavy spam runs during the holiday period,” Dunham said, adding that it likely picked up a substantial number of harvested emails. “The botnet had to get a lot larger. There's a lot of firepower behind it now.”

Talk of the Storm Worm's demise appears exaggerated, even amid media reports that authorities are closing in on the operators.

“In the end, if a bot herder is really good at what he's doing, he's going to maintain command and control,” Dunham said.

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