Feeds

One-third of orphaned Zeus botnets find way home

Cyber security's short-lived victory

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

The takedown of 100 servers used to control Zeus-related botnets may be a short-lived victory, security researchers said after discovering that about a third of the orphaned channels were able to regain connectivity in less than 48 hours.

The resurrection of at least 30 command and control channels came after their internet service provider found a new upstream provider to provide connectivity to the outside world, autonomous system records showed on Thursday. As a result, some of the rogue customers who used the Troyak ISP to herd huge numbers of infected PCs were able to once again connect to the compromised machines and issue commands.

"The problem is that as soon the C&Cs are reachable from the internet again, the cybercriminals can regain the control of their botnet and can safely move the stolen data away from those AS's to a safer place or to a backup server," a researcher connected to the Zeus Tracker service told The Register. "Very bad."

One example of a severed server that was able to reconnect was this one. In all, about 100 of the 249 C&C servers Zeus Tracker monitored lost connectivity. Since then, 30 have been able to reconnect. The researcher, who asked not to be identified by name, said he expected more of the malicious servers will reconnect over time.

The resurrections are in many cases the result of Troyak being reconnected by upstream provider RTCOMM-AS of Moscow. As previously reported, Troyak was completely severed from the net when its previous providers, Ukraine-based Ihome and Russia-based Oversun Mercury, suddenly "de-peered" their customer. Troyak's resiliency demonstrates the whack-a-mole nature of internet takedowns, in which alleged bad guys are able to quickly come back online by switching to a new provider.

For their part, Troyak principals characterized the de-peering as the result of an inadvertent failure to pay bills on time, rather than a termination based on the customers it served.

"We will provide more attention to the payment for our upstreams in time," Roman Starchenko, wrote in an email to The Register. "I know, some of [the] clients of our service might be used for something you called 'botnet'. Anyway, we did not receive any letter from any officials of our country, so will not perform any actions as our law said." ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.