Feeds

Botnet with 60GB of stolen data cracked wide open

Fast flux no more

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Researchers have cracked open a botnet that amassed more than 60GB of passwords and other stolen data, even as it cloaked itself using a state-of-the-art technique known as fast flux.

When its command-and-control server was infiltrated, the Mumba botnet had snagged more than 55,000 PCs, according to the researchers from anti-virus provider AVG. The data-stealing operation is the work of the notorious Avalanche Group, a criminal operation that was responsible for two-thirds of all phishing attacks in the second half of 2009, according to a report earlier this year from the Anti-Phishing Working Group.

“These criminals are some of the most sophisticated on the internet, and have perfected a mass-production system for deploying phishing sites and 'crimeware,'” AVG wrote in a report issued Monday. “This means that mitigating the threat by going after the servers hosting the data using the 'Mumba' botnet is now much harder than before.”

Most botnet command-and-control channels run on compromised webservers or web-hosting services designed for criminals, making it possible to dismantle the network by taking down the central server. Mumba, by contrast, makes use of fast-flux technology, in which the operations are carried out on thousands of compromised PCs. That allows the IP address and host machine to change every few minutes, a measure that frequently foils takedown attempts by researchers and law enforcement.

The botnet appears to have been spawned with an initial malware campaign that was launched in April. Its first week saw more than 35,000 infections. Several smaller campaigns were responsible for the remainder of the botnet's 55,000 victims. The malware uses at least four variants of the latest Zeus crimeware kit, which allows well-financed criminals to deploy highly sophisticated botnets in a hurry.

AVG's discovery is only the latest time that researchers have been able to penetrate a rogue network built on the back of Zeus. Earlier this year, researchers with a separate firm got inside a network that had compromised more than 74,000 machines from at least 2,500 companies, many of which were Fortune 500 firms.

Both botnets were adept at stealing highly sensitive personal details from the PCs they compromised. The stolen data includes login credentials for online bank, retail, and email accounts, and social-networking sites.

A PDF of AVG's report is here. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Know what Ferguson city needs right now? It's not Anonymous doxing random people
U-turn on vow to identify killer cop after fingering wrong bloke
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.