The U.S. Justice Department is expected to announce today an international law enforcement operation to seize control over the Gameover ZeuS botnet, a sprawling network of hacked Microsoft Windows computers that currently infects an estimated 500,000 to 1 million compromised systems globally. Experts say PCs infected with Gameover are being harvested for sensitive financial and personal data, and rented out to an elite cadre of hackers for use in online extortion attacks, spam and other illicit moneymaking schemes.
An examination of the malware used in the Target breach suggests that the attackers may have taken advantage of a poorly secured feature built into a widely-used IT management software product that was running on the retailer’s internal network.
Authorities in Europe joined Microsoft Corp. this week in disrupting “ZeroAccess,” a vast botnet that has enslaved more than two million PCs with malicious software in an elaborate and lucrative scheme to defraud online advertisers.
A company whose software and services are used to remotely administer and monitor large sections of the energy industry began warning customers last week that it is investigating a sophisticated hacker attack spanning its operations in the United States, Canada and Spain. Experts say digital fingerprints left behind by attackers point to a Chinese hacking group tied to repeated cyber-espionage campaigns against key Western interests.
Last week, Microsoft Corp. made headlines when it scored an unconventional if not unprecedented legal victory: Convincing a U.S. court to let it seize control of a Chinese Internet service provider’s network as part of a crackdown on piracy.
I caught up with Microsoft’s chief legal strategist shortly after that order was executed, in a bid to better understand what they were seeing after seizing control over more than 70,000 domains that were closely associated with distributing hundreds of strains of malware. Microsoft said that within hours of the takeover order being granted, it saw more than 35 million unique Internet addresses phoning home those 70,000 malicious domains.
Microsoft said Thursday that it convinced a U.S. federal court to grant it control over a botnet believed to be closely linked to counterfeit versions Windows that were sold in various computer stores across China. The legal victory also highlights a Chinese Internet service that experts say has long been associated with targeted, espionage attacks against U.S. and European corporations.
A security researcher who’s spent the last 18 months cataloging and tracking malware that was developed and deployed online specifically for spying on governments, activists and industry executives says the complexity and scope of these cyberespionage malware networks now rivals many large conventional cybercrime operations.
Joe Stewart, senior director of malware research at Atlanta-based Dell SecureWorks, said he’s logged over 200 unique families of custom malware used in cyber-espionage campaigns, and some 1,000 domain names registered by cyberspies for using in hosting networks used to control the malware, or for use in “spear phishing,” highly targeted emails that spread the malware.
Last week, not long after I published the latest installment in my Pharma Wars series, KrebsOnSecurity.com was the target of a sustained distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that caused the site to be unavailable for some readers between Nov. 17 and 18. What follows are some details about that attack, and how it compares to previous intimidation attempts.
The DDoS was caused by incessant, garbage requests from more than 20,000+ PCs around the globe infected with malware that allows criminals to control them remotely for nefarious purposes. If you’ve noticed that a few of the features on this site haven’t worked as usual these past few days, now you know why. Thanks for your patience.
Cyber attacks designed to knock Web sites off line happen every day, yet shopping for a virtual hit man to launch one of these assaults has traditionally been a dicey affair. That’s starting to change: Hackers are openly competing to… Read More »