Feeds

Gov systems found on 1.9m zombie botnet

Ooh, nasty

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.