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Lethic botnet knocked out by security researchers

Zombie network taken down

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The command-and-control servers of the Lethic botnet have been taken out following a spam-busting collaboration between security firm Neustar and ISPs.

The botherders behind Lethic specialised in distributing unlicensed pharmaceutical, diploma and replica goods spam. Compromised machines in the network are reckoned to have spewed out as much as one in 10 of junk mails circulating globally, Dark Reading reports.

The decommissioning of Lethic follows other botnet takedown efforts over recent months, including McColo in November 2008, Torpig in May 2009, and most recently Mega-D in November 2009.

Security firm M86 reports that compromised machines in the Lethic botnet are attempting to contact new servers, hosted in Hong Kong and China. M86 has contacted local registrars in a bid to get domains polled by Lethic drones (which are currently inactive) permanently delisted.

Miscreants have responded to botnet take down efforts by building more resilient cybercrime networks, with command and control servers selected using Fast Flux techniques to rotate URLs or communicate via P2P networks. This means that the Lethic takedown is unlikely to have a long-term effect on spam levels.

Nonetheless, even a temporary reduction in penis pill and diploma spam is welcome, so Neustar et al ought to be saluted for their efforts. ®

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