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New gang war raging on the Internet

Recent rise in spam and malware attributed to new gang war online.

It's like something out of The Sopranos. Antivirus researchers at Moscow-based Kaspersky Labs have identified criminal gangs engaged in a turf battle online. The primary groups are responsible for the Warezov and Zhelatin worms; these worms then download Trojans that are in turn responsible for a majority of the spam and malware circulating on the Web. Basically, new spam and new phishing attacks are designed to switch your remotely controlled PC from belonging to the Warezov gang or the Zhelatin gang. The resulting botnets--collections of remotely controlled PCs--have proved profitable, luring unsuspecting Internet users to purchase porn or other services attributed to organized crime activity.

This is not the first gang war online. In 2004, the authors of Bagle, MyDoom, and Netsky battled each other for several months. Coincidentally, the Bagle worm, which had been dormant for a while, has reappeared and is now challenging Warezov and Zhelatin. There appear to be three distinct gangs currently battling for botnet supremacy.

Back in 2001, the authors of the Goner worm said they were attempting to take down a rival gang's botnet. Intended to be a local, targeted attack, the Goner worm instead spread and caused considerable damage on computers worldwide.