With the recent demise of several popular “proxy” services that let cybercriminals route their malicious traffic through hacked PCs, there is now something of a supply chain crisis gripping the underbelly of the Internet. Compounding the problem, several remaining malware-based proxy services have chosen to block new registrations to avoid swamping their networks with a sudden influx of customers.
Microleaves, a ten-year-old proxy service that lets customers route their web traffic through millions of Microsoft Windows computers, exposed their entire user database and the location of tens of millions of PCs running the proxy software. Microleaves claims its proxy software is installed with user consent. But research suggests Microleaves has a lengthy history of being supplied with new proxies by affiliates incentivized to install the software any which way they can — such as by secretly bundling it with other software.
Multiple stories published here over the past few weeks have examined the disruptive power of hacked “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices such as routers, IP cameras and digital video recorders. This post looks at how crooks are using hacked IoT devices as proxies to hide their true location online as they engage in a variety of other types of cybercriminal activity — from frequenting underground forums to credit card and tax refund fraud.