The Spamhaus Project


Exploits Block List - Two Botnets Contribute to 50% Increase in Listings

by The Spamhaus TeamOctober 26, 20182 minutes reading time

If you’ve been monitoring the Exploits Block List (XBL) recently you will have noticed a significant increase in the number of listings. The past few weeks have seen a lift from approximately 10 million to 15 million listings. The question is why? Our botnet specialist explains…

What is the XBL?

The XBL is Spamhaus’s block list which lists IP addresses that host bots and malware-infected computers.

Why the huge upswing in listings?

Approximately half of this increase is due to a new spambot sending out vast quantities of spam for Chinese porn web sites. We believe that this may be due to proxy software, popular in China, having a security issue. Meanwhile the rest is from the rising number of IP addresses that are being reported as infected with the Avalanche/Gamarue botnet.

For those ‘in know’, you’re probably thinking “But the Avalanche botnet was taken down?” You are indeed correct, however the machines infected by Avalanche are still out there spreading the infection to new machines. The difference being now is that these machines can no longer be controlled by the current set of bad guys. But, it’s worth noting that these machines are still insecure and open to abuse by other spammers.

When will these bots die out?

Even if all the botnet gangs were taken down the malware they created would continue to spread without their controller. This is a spectre we're going to have to live with for a long time. The Conficker bot is still out there, and its control network died years ago!

Who is behind the new spambot?

There’s one last question… what (or who) is responsible for sending the copious quantities of Chinese porn-related spam? To date we don’t have an answer, but we’ll let you know as soon as we find out more.