Feeds

Gameover ZeuS botnet pulls dripping stake from heart, staggers back from the UNDEAD

Zombies twitch, lurch to feet after FBI takedown

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The Gameover ZeuS malware is back from the dead just six weeks after a takedown operations that aimed to put a stake through the heart of the botnet, which is linked to the even more infamous CryptoLocker ransomware.

International law enforcement acted against the crooks behind the Gameover ZeuS in early June. For the past month, the botnet formed by this malware was largely inactive, according to net security firm Sophos.

GameOver ZeuS, which is estimated to have infected more than 500,000 machines worldwide, is designed to steal financial and personal information from compromised PCs. Gameover ZeuS was a common distribution mechanism for CryptoLocker prior to June's takedown op. Cybercrooks behind the latest variant appear to have regressed to using older tricks involving infected email attachments and spam.

Now a new variant of Gameover ZeuS is being used to establish a zombie network. Sophos reports that the new variant is distributed through widespread spam campaigns, meaning the number of infections may already be large. Dodgy messages pose as online bank account statements, it said. The attachments of these messages are actually riddled with malware.

Some features of the old version have been dropped, including parts that were supposed to make it more sophisticated, in a move towards greater simplicity. In particular, the latest variant of the malware swaps P2P for fast-flux communication.

The latest variant of the malware tries phoning home to 1,000 domain names per day in order to receive command-and-control instructions. The crooks seem to be leaving it until the last minute to register domains they intend to use, according to an analysis of the latest variant by James Wyke, a senior threat researcher at Sophos.

The Gameover ZeuS takeover operation is June was accompanied by criminal charges against 30-year-old Russian national Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, who is suspected of running the botnet.

"We can't yet say whether this new variant is the old guys back... or someone completely new who acquired the source code," according to Sophos, which has added detection for the variant to its enterprise-focused security software packages.

The security software maker adds that it's too early to say whether the comeback campaign is likely to prove successful. Peter Kruse, a partner and eCrime specialist at Danish security consultancy CSIS, estimated there were 1,000 infections of machines contaminated with the new variant as of last Friday (11 July). ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists
Lousy XOR opens door into which victims can shove a foot
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
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.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
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.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.