If you noticed more spam than usual in your inbox in recent months, you’re not alone. You may also have noticed that using your email client to block the sender is typically ineffective. That’s because the spam is coming from thousands of different domains, each corresponding to a different compromised web server.
This is the work of the Mumblehard botnet, which was observed sending mass spam starting about seven months ago by ESet researchers. The Mumblehard code has existed on the web for at least five years, but seems to have started its spamming activities on a large scale only in the last year or so.
Computers infected with Mumblehard are typically Linux web servers. It remains unclear exactly how servers become infected, but researchers suspect that unpatched WordPress and Joomla vulnerabilities provide the key.