Feeds

Botnet with 60GB of stolen data cracked wide open

Fast flux no more

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

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 next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
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.
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.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.