Feeds

Gov systems found on 1.9m zombie botnet

Ooh, nasty

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.