Botnet that enslaved 770,000 PCs worldwide comes crashing down

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Law enforcement groups and private security companies around the world said they have taken down a botnet that enslaved more than 770,000 computers in 190 countries, stealing owners’ banking credentials and establishing a backdoor to install still more malware. Simda, as the botnet was known, infected an additional 128,000 new computers each month over the past half year, a testament to the stealth of the underlying backdoor trojan and the organization of its creators. The backdoor morphed into a new, undetectable form every few hours, allowing it to stay one step ahead of many antivirus programs. Botnet operators used a variety of methods to infect targets, including exploiting known vulnerabilities in software such as Oracle Java , Adobe Flash , and  Microsoft Silverlight . The exploits were stitched into websites by exploiting SQL injection vulnerabilities and exploit kits such as Blackhole and Styx. Other methods included sending spam and other forms of social engineering. Countries most affected by Simda included the US, with 22 percent of the infections, followed by the UK, Turkey with five percent, and Canada and Russia with four percent. The malware modified the HOSTS file Microsoft Windows machines use to map specific domain names to specific IP addresses. As a result, infected computers that attempted to visit addresses such as connect.facebook.net or google-analytics.com were surreptitiously diverted to servers under the control of the attackers. Often the booby-trapped HOSTS file remains even after the Simda backdoor has been removed. Security researchers advised anyone who may have been infected to inspect their HOSTS file, which is typically located in the directory %SYSTEM32%driversetchosts. People who want to discover if they have been infected by Simda can check this page provided by AV provider Kaspersky Lab. The page is effective as long as a person’s IP address hasn’t changed from when the infection was detected. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Botnet that enslaved 770,000 PCs worldwide comes crashing down

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