Feeds

Botnet with 60GB of stolen data cracked wide open

Fast flux no more

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

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
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.