In what could be the largest spambot yet, a security researcher has discovered 711 million email addresses at a bot’s disposal. The researcher, Troy Hunt, who runs the website ‘Have I Been Pwned’ said that the spambot, called Onliner, appears to have the largest single set of data ever discovered. The last such known spambot contained 393 million records.
The Onliner spambot bypasses existing spam filters by collecting emails leaked with their passwords and SMTP credentials from previous breaches. These breaches include the LinkedIn hack in 2012 that put nearly 117 million accounts at risk.
Hunt, who goes by the name Benkow, said that Onliner is used as a way to deliver Ursnif banking malware, which has been designed to compromise Windows computers. What makes it an even serious threat is that it is capable of bypassing spam filters, so even if you have cautiously raised the walls to sieve out spam messages, Onliner might still infiltrate into your inbox and spread infected messages. ALSO READ: New Trojan compromises mobile internet billing to siphon off money
Benkow further explained that the more SMTP, the spammers or servers can find, the more they are capable of distributing the campaign. Spammers use the credentials from past breaches to send infected mails to other addresses in the list. Benkow reveals that 80 million of the 711 million accounts had complete credentials and were used as senders, while the rest were used as targets, Engadget reports.
The moment an infected mail by Onliner arrives, it can potentially infect your PCs as soon as you load the attachment. Once it finds its way into your PC, the Trojan malware can steal your bank log-ins (which you might have saved on your personal systems), credit card information (stored for faster check outs at shopping sites), passwords, and even act as keylogger. ALSO READ: Facebook Messenger users reportedly being attacked by malware-infested fake messages
To prevent such an attack, it is always recommended that you never open mail attachments from unverified sources. It is also useful if you have anti-virus software installed, and updated into your personal systems to avoid seepage of malicious code.