Feeds

Gov systems found on 1.9m zombie botnet

Ooh, nasty

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Government and corporate Windows PCs were among the ranks of a 1.9 million botnet recently discovered by net security firm Finjan.

Finjan security researchers discovered the control server of the botnet after tracing back an infection from a corporate client. Evidence on the cybercrime server, which was hosted in the Ukraine, showed it had been in use since February 2009, and controlled by a cybergang of six people.

Trojan downloader malware planted on insecure websites was used to distribute the malware that seeded the botnet, via drive-by download attacks. The core group of cybercrooks were assisted by a vast affiliate network.

Yuval Ben-Itzhak, chief technology officer at Finjan, said the malware that created the botnet used a variety of Internet Explorer, Firefox and PDF vulnerabilities to spread. He added that only four out of 39 anti-virus scanners detected the malware.

Ben-Itzhak told El Reg that the cybercrooks behind the botnet made their money by auctioning off access to compromised machines through underground forums, typically charging $100 for 1,000 machines. The miscreants almost made money from selling data looted from compromised machines, he added.

The cybercrooks collectively compromised computers in 77 government-owned domains (.gov) from the UK, US and various other countries.

The malware that featured in the attack allowed hackers complete control of compromised PCs, nearly all of which were running Windows XP. A variety of malicious actions, from reading emails to copying files, keystroke logging, and spam distribution were all possible.

Since discovering the botnet, Finjan has supplied information to the server to UK and US law enforcement agencies. The command server is now out of commission. Finjan has informed affected corporate and government agencies about infected computer names, in a move that will hopefully result in a clean-up operation.

Screenshots taken from the command and control server, and more discussion on the superbotnet can be found on Finjan’s blog here. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Know what Ferguson city needs right now? It's not Anonymous doxing random people
U-turn on vow to identify killer cop after fingering wrong bloke
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.