Feeds

Sorry, chaps! We didn't mean to steamroller legit No-IP users – Microsoft

Meanwhile, miscreants are DDoSing the hapless DNS provider

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Updated Microsoft has admitted that it did disrupt a significant number of legitimate users of No-IP's dynamic DNS service, but says the problem is now sorted out.

"Yesterday morning, Microsoft took steps to disrupt a cyber-attack that surreptitiously installed malware on millions of devices without their owners' knowledge through the abuse of No-IP, an Internet solutions service," David Finn, associate general counsel of Redmond's Digital Crimes Unit, told The Reg in a statement.

"Due to a technical error, however, some customers whose devices were not infected by the malware experienced a temporary loss of service. As of 6am Pacific time today, all service was restored. We regret any inconvenience these customers experienced."

The problems occurred after Microsoft was granted a temporary restraining order against No-IP by a Nevada judge that transferred 22 domains to Redmond. The injunction was granted because the Microsoft security team showed evidence that malware writers were using No-IP's services to sell and control nearly 250 types of malware, and in particular the Windows-targeted trojans Bladabindi and Jenxcus.

Under the terms of the court decision, the DNS lookups for the domains were passed to Microsoft's name servers, with the plan being that Redmond would filter out No-IP subdomains linked to malicious activity and let legitimate subdomains resolve as expected. Sadly, this didn’t work and No-IP estimated four million customers were left without service.

Microsoft's takeover of No-IP's domains may have pissed off the DNS firm's customers, but the security industry has rallied around the move. Kaspersky Lab expert Costin Raiu said the power grab has crippled command-and-control systems for many malware operators.

"Based on our statistics, the shutdown has affected in some form at least 25 per cent of the APT groups we are tracking," he said. "Some of these hosts that were previously used in large and sophisticated cyberespionage operations are now pointing to what appears to be a Microsoft sinkhole, at 204.95.99.59."

As for No-IP; well, the week just got a whole lot worse. Today it was hit by a major distributed denial-of-service attack that crippled the company's website temporarily, and is causing its engineering team some major headaches. ®

Updated to add

No-IP has beaten off the DDoS attack, but the company is disputing Microsoft's claim that everything is fine and dandy for its customers.

"Services were not restored at 6am, in fact they are still not up at this moment," spokeswoman Natalie Goguen told The Register.

"At 6am, they seemed to make a change to forward on the good traffic, but it didn’t do anything. Although they seem to be trying to take corrective measures, DNS is hard, and they don’t seem to be very good at it."

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
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?
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.