Skip to main content
0 Results Found
              Back To Results
                Threat Analysis

                BlackWorm Statistics

                By: Joe Stewart

                • Date: January 26, 2006
                • Author: Joe Stewart


                As reported in the previous analysis, BlackWorm contacts a web stats counter to report infections. Working with the ISP hosting the counter along with the TISF BlackWorm task force, we have obtained and analyzed the logs from the counter.

                Update: February 6, 2006

                The folks at CAIDA have done a terrific job of applying statistical theory to the raw log hits - if you're looking for in-depth statistical analysis, you should check out their writeup.

                An attempt was made by an unknown party to artificially inflate the counter using a set of 279 distributed (presumably compromised) computers. However, it is easy to differentiate these requests from the actual infected systems. As of the time these statistics were taken, the counter is well above 5 million, however, the actual count of infected users is closer to 300,000 worldwide and not increasing at too great a rate.

                The graph above shows the total hits from all sources on the counter. Notice the sharp increase on Jan 25 at 8:00AM, as the coordinated attack on the counter begins.

                The graph above shows the total infections, after removing the attacking IPs and other hits which do not conform to the signature of the worm's requests. Duplicate IP addresses with the same user-agent have been removed as well, giving us as near to an actual infection count as possible, given the use of proxy/cache servers.

                The pie chart above shows the total infections by country for all countries with greater than 2000 infected IP addresses. The high infection rates in India, Peru and Italy are interesting to note. It is possible some of these figures are skewed by ARIN IP address reassignment, but we do believe India is the hardest-hit country by far in terms of overall infection rate.

                Even so, 300,000 infected users worldwide is not a terribly large amount when compared to previous worms like Sober or Mydoom. However, with this worm it isn't the quantity of infected users, it is the destructive payload which is most concerning.

                Frequently Asked Questions

                Q: What did you use to match IP addresses to countries?
                A: The IP::Country and Geography::Countries Perl modules.

                Q: Isn't it impossible to get an exact count, due to proxy/cache servers and NAT?
                A: Yes, this is a well-known problem with taking web statistics. We've tried to eliminate this skew as much as possible by checking the user-agent string as well as the IP, but even that is not perfect. One thing to consider is that users on dialup lines will skew the count in the other direction, showing up as multiple IPs for one infection, so you're never going to have a 100% accurate count.

                Q: Can you share the complete counts for all infected countries?
                A: Sure:

                8 Afghanistan
                21 Albania
                106 Algeria
                6 Andorra
                2 Angola
                1 Antigua and Barbuda
                1595 Argentina
                5 Armenia
                960 Australia
                503 Austria
                19 Azerbaijan
                9 Bahamas
                105 Bahrain
                121 Bangladesh
                1 Barbados
                24 Belarus
                305 Belgium
                4 Belize
                5 Benin
                2 Bermuda
                4 Bhutan
                158 Bolivia
                40 Bosnia and Herzegovina
                1367 Brazil
                96 Brunei Darussalam
                102 Bulgaria
                12 Burkina Faso
                13 Cambodia
                14 Cameroon
                1194 Canada
                5 Chad
                734 Chile
                2544 China
                515 Colombia
                1 Comoros
                250 Costa Rica
                123 Croatia
                17 Cuba
                146 Cyprus
                260 Czech Republic
                27 C?te d'Ivoire
                104 Denmark
                3 Djibouti
                38 Dominican Republic
                110 Ecuador
                7615 Egypt
                68 El Salvador
                1 Equatorial Guinea
                1 Eritrea
                17 Estonia
                5 Ethiopia
                8 Fiji
                66 Finland
                1248 France
                1 French Polynesia
                3 Gabon
                31 Georgia
                1768 Germany
                15 Ghana
                6 Gibraltar
                4716 Greece
                7 Guam
                57 Guatemala
                6 Haiti
                706 Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China
                56 Hungary
                2 Iceland
                79610 India
                3873 Indonesia
                656 Iran (Islamic Republic of)
                15 Iraq
                236 Ireland
                747 Israel
                22710 Italy
                1 Jamaica
                327 Japan
                909 Jordan
                27 Kazakhstan
                97 Kenya
                1294 Kuwait
                5 Kyrgyzstan
                39 Lao People's Democratic Republic
                67 Latvia
                158 Lebanon
                56 Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
                1 Liechtenstein
                109 Lithuania
                33 Luxembourg
                9 Macau
                8 Madagascar
                3 Malawi
                7176 Malaysia
                17 Maldives
                2 Mali
                56 Malta
                2 Mauritania
                52 Mauritius
                2962 Mexico
                26 Monaco
                1 Mongolia
                112 Morocco
                3 Mozambique
                16 Nepal
                410 Netherlands
                9 Netherlands Antilles
                148 New Zealand
                30 Nicaragua
                3 Niger
                110 Nigeria
                1 Northern Mariana Islands
                136 Norway
                441 Oman
                695 Pakistan
                1 Palau
                53 Panama
                13 Papua New Guinea
                13 Paraguay
                54878 Peru
                2463 Philippines
                701 Poland
                420 Portugal
                5 Puerto Rico
                232 Qatar
                354 Republic of Korea
                4 Republic of Moldova
                314 Romania
                312 Russian Federation
                10 San Marino
                5 Sao Tome and Principe
                252 Saudi Arabia
                28 Senegal
                1392 Singapore
                27 Slovakia
                33 Slovenia
                1 Solomon Islands
                472 South Africa
                1384 Spain
                1750 Sri Lanka
                116 Sudan
                1 Swaziland
                331 Sweden
                429 Switzerland
                49 Syrian Arab Republic
                487 Taiwan
                1658 Thailand
                64 The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
                6 Togo
                50 Trinidad and Tobago
                102 Tunisia
                15516 Turkey
                22 Uganda
                78 Ukraine
                1391 United Arab Emirates
                1960 United Kingdom
                37 United Republic of Tanzania
                15270 United States
                1 United States Virgin Islands
                2837 Unknown
                92 Uruguay
                14 Uzbekistan
                519 Venezuela
                353 Viet Nam
                197 Yemen
                60 Yugoslavia
                9 Zambia
                3 Zimbabwe

                Q: Those stats look a little off. How can Turkey, with a much smaller Internet-connected population have more infections than the United States?
                A: Indeed - it does appear strange - however, viruses don't always spread uniformly. There are many factors at play which are hard to quantify, such as the initial seeding, social-engineering, AV deployment, and random chance. And, as with all statistics, take with a grain of salt.

                Q: Peru? Are you sure?
                A: Yes, we have resolved the hostnames and they belong primarily to a single Peruvian ISP. We can only speculate that someone with a large list of customers at that ISP became infected and most of the users received the attachment.

                Q: How can I keep current on this threat until February 3?
                A: Sites with frequent updates on BlackWorm are

                Update - January 31, 2006

                We decided to take a different approach to de-duplicating the IP addresses in the logs. Instead of only counting unique IP/User-Agent pairs, this time we make an educated guess as to what constitues a single user rebooting multiple times, and what constitutes a company or organization utilizing one or several NAT devices. In this case we unscientifically picked a number, ten. IP addresses with fewer than this number of hits are considered to fall into the individual user/multiple reboots category. IP addresses with more than this number of hits are considered one infection per hit. Still plenty of room for error, but we get some interesting results:

                In the chart above, we have an additional day's worth of logs, and we have combined all countries with fewer than around 4000 hits together in the "Other" grouping.

                We can see that the United States now tops India in the total number of infections, as one might expect. Surprisingly though, the bulk (75,435) of these hits are from two NAT devices at a single US company. Based on the more recent logs plus the different methodology, we believe the total number of users infected worldwide is actually closer to 600,000.

                Related Content

                Close Modal
                Close Modal