427k email addresses found on a Rustock botnet harddrive

Microsoft has been known in the past in dealing with the takedown of certain botnets. Earlier this year they took down the Rustock botnet which was responsible for as many as 30 billion spam messages per day. It was yet another victory for Microsoft and one that was later followed by the takedown of Coreflood last month.

A report submitted to a federal Judge on Monday discussed the investigation of the hardware seized by the U.S Marshals Service. It concluded that a staggering 427,000 email addresses were found on one of the 20 hard drives seized. The report stated "One text file alone contained over 427,000 email addresses." followed by "Additional evidence of the system's role in spam-dissemination was also uncovered, including custom-written software relating to assembly of spam emails and text files containing thousands of email addresses and username/password combinations"

In addition to having the enormous amount of stored email addresses, the report also mentioned that there was evidence to suggest the criminals behind the botnet were using stolen credit cards in order to pay for the hosting and email services. The payments were traced to Vladimir Alexandrovich Shergin, a man based near Moscow, although it is suspected that he wasn’t involved in the botnet operation. The service that hosted Rustock said "Microsoft is continuing its investigation to determine whether the name and contact information are authentic, whether this is a stolen identity and/or whether this person is associated with the events in this action"

Image credit: SocialBarrel

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25 Comments

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Xilo said,
Microsoft needs to seriously fix the spam filters for Hotmail. They are practically non existent.

They got really good for a while then in the last several months it started to really slip.

sava700 said,

They got really good for a while then in the last several months it started to really slip.


I've always found it bad. 30 junk emails a day practically. They should at least let us create our own filters into of having a crappy good/bad system where you can only block the full address or the domain.

Xilo said,
Microsoft needs to seriously fix the spam filters for Hotmail. They are practically non existent.

The majority of general user SPAM received is people dumping their emails in public areas and giving them to shady companies. There is no way to stop stupid.

As for actual non-solicited email, Hotmail/Live does better than GMail... Try it, create two identical prefix email accounts on both systems, and see what you get. Then start dumping the email addresses on public forums, see what ya get. Next use the email to sign up and 'opt' in to shady services and companies. (This is where Hotmail/Live fails, as it 'tests' it uses coordinates how much the 'SPAM' knows about you, so if it references your real name, and other information that you would have 'elected' or signed up, it will get through.)

GMail - I gets lots of spam, but they end up in the spam folder
I've always and still get spam on my Hotmail account. Not sure how Google manage to be so good.

Were they hotmail accounts? Otherwise what has Microsoft got to do with stopping them?

Not complaining, just generally curious.

Benjy91 said,
Were they hotmail accounts? Otherwise what has Microsoft got to do with stopping them?

Not complaining, just generally curious.

Microsoft will often do things like this that aid their reputation & indirectly their products - Sorta out of kindness

Benjy91 said,
Were they hotmail accounts? Otherwise what has Microsoft got to do with stopping them?

Not complaining, just generally curious.

All those millions bot-netted PCs are running Windows.

Benjy91 said,
Were they hotmail accounts? Otherwise what has Microsoft got to do with stopping them?

Not complaining, just generally curious.

Do some history research. Gates was at the forefront of halting SPAM on many levels going back to the 90s. Microsoft proposed several changes to the email technologies to kill off SPAM, but everyone hated Microsoft and liked the old crap email technologies, which is why we are still using POP3 and IMAP and SMTP that is older than most people reading this.

So they instead went on to combat it in other ways, for example the Application Layer they added to the default Windows Firewall to even new detection technologies and network limit and timeout technologies that are used by virtually everyone now.

I wish hacking groups spent their time tracking down and shutting down and messing with botnets and the people who run them.

Yoofie said,
I wish hacking groups spent their time tracking down and shutting down and messing with botnets and the people who run them.

How does that even remotely make sense? THE HACKERS ARE THE ONES WHO MAKE THE BOTNETS DUH.

StevenMalone77 said,

How does that even remotely make sense? THE HACKERS ARE THE ONES WHO MAKE THE BOTNETS DUH.

All golden retrievers are dogs; therefore, all dogs are golden retrievers... Ya this logic still doesn't work. Try again?

De.Bug said,
Wowzers... 427k email addresses that must have took a long time to acumulate.

Maybe, maybe not... The Playstation Network had over 70 million users. I'm betting the vast majority of those people used their primary email address in their profile.

halcyoncmdr said,

Maybe, maybe not... The Playstation Network had over 70 million users. I'm betting the vast majority of those people used their primary email address in their profile.


Exactly the same thought, 427k isn't such a large number, it can be achieved pretty easy. (and I know what I'm saying) e.g.: Invisible scanners wich require to introduce an ID to scan, can be very easy used to grab that ID and just put an @yahoo.com after the scanned id, and I saw some of them wich requires both username and your password in order to be able to detect your friends if they are visible or not, and you won't belive how much really use their real username/pw.

Quick Shot said,
I never knew spam was such a big deal...

spam can costs corporations a lot of money in terms of man power trying to fight it or dealing with the consequences of people getting duped because of it.

Sas Center said,
i don't know how this is microsoft's task to shut down spam, but i like that they are doing it!
thanks microsoft!

Funny how you'll never here about it anywhere else....

Sas Center said,
i don't know how this is microsoft's task to shut down spam, but i like that they are doing it!
thanks microsoft!

Gates started this in Microsoft a long time ago, when they also try introducing several spam prevention modifications to the aged email technologies. Sadly their proposals were never taken seriously cause everyone hated Microsoft, so they went on to go after the bigger spam groups.

Google really hates Microsoft for this, btw, as Google makes revenue from both SPAM and the traffic it generates to sites.

thenetavenger said,
Google really hates Microsoft for this, btw, as Google makes revenue from both SPAM and the traffic it generates to sites.
Source?

I imagine it costs them in lost clicks but it saves them money in overhead in dealing with spam on their own servers so I would imagine it's a wash for them.