3/14/2010

Huge ‘botnet’ amputated, but criminals reconnect

Filed under: — By Aviran Mordo @ 9:42 am

The sudden takedown of an Internet provider thought to be helping spread one of the most promiscuous pieces of malicious software out there appears to have cut off criminals from potentially millions of personal computers under their control.

But the victory was short-lived. Less than a day after a service known as “AS Troyak” was unplugged from the Internet, security researchers said Wednesday it apparently had found a way to get back online, and criminals were reconnecting with their unmoored machines.

The drama initially raised hopes of a sharp drop-off in fraud, because criminals could no longer communicate with many computers infected with a type of malware known as “ZeuS,” which is mostly used to steal online banking usernames and passwords. Hundreds of criminal operations around the world use the malware.

It’s unknown how many computers are infected with ZeuS, but it’s estimated to be in the millions. Cisco Systems Inc. said as many as 25 percent of the world’s ZeuS-infected machines were unplugged from the massive “botnet” overnight with the takedown of AS Troyak.

 

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