Feeds

Armenia jails Bredolab botmaster for 4 years

First computer crime conviction in the former Soviet republic

Security for virtualized datacentres

A cybercrook who established a 30 million computer strong botnet has been jailed for four years in Armenia.

Georgy Avanesov, 27, a Russian citizen of Armenian descent, had apparently been making a cool $125,000 a month renting out access to zombie drones in the infamous Bredolab botnet.

Other crooks used access to these compromised Windows PCs to either distribute spam, launch DDoS attacks or to mount scareware (fake anti-virus) scams. DDoS targets reportedly included Russian anti-virus firm Kaspersky Lab.

Bredolab, which disgorged more than 3 billion malicious emails a day at its peak, spread by planting malicious scripts on legitimate websites. These scripts used browsers exploits and the like to drop the zombie software onto the Windows PCs.

Components of the Bredolab malware were designed to steal usernames and passwords to FTP accounts, creating a means to plant malicious code onto more legitimate sites in the process, further multiplying the spread of infection.

Prospective marks were tricked into visiting compromised sites using spam emails with dodgy HTML attachments that posed as messages from the likes of Facebook, Skype and Amazon. Screenshots of infected email, along with commentary on the botnet and Avanesov's prosecution, can be found in a blog post by Sophos here.

"It's easy to see how such a large network of infected PCs was created, as people clicked on seemingly legitimate attachments and websites, oblivious to the infection that would go on to take control of their PC, and in some cases steal passwords and usernames," commented Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at Sophos. "To prevent botnets such as this forming, it is critical that website administrators don't let FTP software remember passwords, and that users are more cautious in the attachments they download."

Avanesov's downfall followed swiftly on the heels of the botnet takedown operation in October 2010.

Dutch police seized control of command & control servers associated with the Bredolab botnet, using this access to display warning messages to users with compromised PCs. Days afterwards, Avanesov was arrested at Yerevan's Zvartnots Airport in Armenia, shortly after he stepped off a late night flight from Moscow.

The 27-year-old is the first person in Armenia to be jailed for violation of Armenia's computer crime laws. Local (English language) reports on Avanesov's sentencing on Tuesday can be found here. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.