Spammers are the source of a flood of messages that appear to originate from various social networks, including Facebook and Myspace, as well as popular sites like iTunes.
The spam messages usually just contain a link, and possibly a few words. Their subject matter falls into three general categories common to most contemporary spam: Pill vendors, Russian bride “vendors,” and drive-by download sites hosting Zbot password-stealer installers.
It’s not unusual for spammers to forge the return addresses, but the sheer volume of spam that has been forged so it appears to originate from MySpace, Facebook, or iTunes is notable.
The latest generation of Koobface targets its particularly effective brand of social engineering at more social networks than ever. As the worm has evolved, we’ve seen it grow to encompass a pantheon of services, targeting more than just the widely publicized Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, but a host of other Web sites where people meet and (apparently) post links of funny videos for one another to watch.
To illustrate how pervasive the worm has become at propagation, we put together the video below. (And no, you don’t need to download some random codec to watch it, just Flash.) If you’ve got two minutes, check it out, but to get the best view, maximize the video window first (click the little “X” next to “vimeo” in the lower-right corner):
For our test, several members of Webroot’s Threat Research team created profiles on the social networks Koobface attempts to infiltrate, logged into those accounts on test computers, then executed the worm’s main installer application.
The worm checks to see which sites among the ones it targets that you’ve logged in to, and downloads specific payloads for each social networking site it targets. That makes sense: Each of those social networks has its own distinct user interface, which the payload targeting that site interacts with. But the sites all have one thing in common: They all permit members to send one another messages containing hotlinked URLs. And that’s what Koobface is best at: Propagating itself by sending links. Nothing surprised us more than finding that we could actually watch the worm interacting with the interface, filling in forms and clicking buttons, as we stared at the screen. Continue reading →