Feeds

One-third of orphaned Zeus botnets find way home

Cyber security's short-lived victory

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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." ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Fiendishly complex password app extension ships for iOS 8
Just slip it in, won't hurt a bit, 1Password makers urge devs
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.