Feeds

MS claims credit for Rustock botnet takedown

All salute the zombie slayer

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Action taken by Microsoft and law enforcement agencies was responsible for the takedown of the infamous spam-spewing Rustock botnet, the software giant said today.

Anti-spam firms were taken by surprise by the abrupt cessation of junk mail from zombie clients in the Rustock botnet network on Wednesday afternoon. The reason for the respite, it emerged on Thursday, was a lawsuit by Microsoft that resulted in a series of coordinated raids targeting systems identified as being integral to the botnet's command and control network, as explained in a blog post by Microsoft here.

The raids involved the seizure of kit at seven US-based hosting facilities by US Marshals who teamed up with investigators in Microsoft's digital crimes unit to run the exercise, codenamed Operation b107. The operation followed similar tactics to the similarly organised takedown of the Waledac botnet last year, using a combination of legal and technical measures. The Rustock botnet takedown effort was a still more complex affair, Richard Boscovich, a senior attorney in Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit explains.

Microsoft filed suit against the anonymous operators of the Rustock botnet, based in part on the abuse of Microsoft trademarks in the bot's spam. However, Rustock's infrastructure was much more complicated than Waledac's, relying on hard-coded Internet Protocol addresses rather than domain names and peer-to-peer command and control servers to control the botnet.

To be confident that the bot could not be quickly shifted to new infrastructure, we sought and obtained a court order allowing us to work with the US Marshals Service to physically capture evidence onsite and, in some cases, take the affected servers from hosting providers for analysis.

As well as following up on the analysis work, Microsoft's most pressing priority on Rustock is to work in co-operation with national CERTs to organise the clean-up of the estimated one million zombie PCs that formed the Rustock botnet – and which remain infected.

Rustock, which specialised in sending junk mail adverts for sites that sell unlicensed pharmaceutical drugs, was responsible for sending an estimated 39 per cent of global spam in circulation last year, according to Symantec. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
Crooks fling banking Trojan at Japanese smut site fans
Wait - they're doing online banking with an unpatched Windows PC?
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.