Crooks who create botnets with crimeware kits SpyEye and ZeuS are creatively venting their frustration over a pair of Web services that help ISPs and companies block infected machines from communicating with control networks run by the botmasters.
If your Microsoft Windows PC was attacked by fake anti-virus or “scareware” in the past few years, chances are good that the attack was made possible by ChronoPay, Russia’s largest processor of online payments.
Tens of thousands of documents stolen and leaked last year from ChronoPay offer a fascinating view into a company that has artfully cultivated and profited handsomely from the market for scareware, which hijacks victim PCs with fake security alerts in a bid to frighten users into paying for worthless security software.
Last month, I published evidence suggesting that future development of the ZeuS banking Trojan was being merged with that of the up-and-coming SpyEye Trojan. Since then, a flood of new research and resources has been published about SpyEye, including a new site that helps network owners track the location of SpyEye control networks worldwide.
Authorities in the United States, United Kingdom and Ukraine launched a series of law enforcement sweeps beginning late last month against some of the world’s most notorious gangs running botnets powered by ZeuS, a powerful password-stealing Trojan horse program. ZeuS botnet activity worldwide took a major hit almost immediately thereafter, but it appears to be already on the rebound, according to one prominent ZeuS-watching site.
Virus writers and botmasters increasingly are turning to new subscription services that test when and whether malicious links have been flagged by Web reputation programs like Google Safe Browsing and McAfee SiteAdvisor.
Security experts are tracking a massive drop in the global number of control servers for various ZeuS botnets that are online, suggesting that a coordinated takedown effort may have been executed by law enforcement and/or volunteers from the security research community acting in tandem.