Department of Justice shuts down Coreflood botnet

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Apr 15, 2011

'Stop' command sent from replaced command and control servers.

Earlier this week the US Department of Justice (DoJ) obtained an unprecedented temporary restraining order (TRO) that effectively allowed it to send 'stop' commands from the command and control servers of the Coreflood botnet - thus managing to shut it down.

As is the case with most botnets, the controllers of Coreflood have the ability to remotely shut down botnet agents installed on the victims' computers. However, the botnet is quite old and does not possess several of the 'security' features seen in many newer botnets - where such remote commands need to be authenticated to ensure that they come from the botnet's controllers rather than anyone else - for example law enforcement agencies or competing botherders.

Of course, despite the botnet being taken down, computers are still infected with the Coreflood malware. However, at the moment the botherders have little to no ability to control these zombies, so it is a good time for security vendors and ISPs to ensure the malicious software is removed from the computers altogether. Microsoft has already shipped an update for users of the Malicious Software Removal Tool that removes Coreflood from the infected machines.

Coreflood has a long history, going back to at least 2002. In 2005 it made the news when Miami businessman Joe Lopez lost over US$90,000. The money had been wired out of his account to a bank in Latvia - his machine was found to be infected with the Coreflood trojan. Lopez sued his bank in the first of many lawsuits brought against banks by malware victims.

Last month's takedown of Rustock saw spam levels take a nose dive, but Coreflood appears to have been significantly less active in sending spam - since its takedown there have been no signs of any drop in spam levels.

Industry comments on the takedown can be found at Damballa's The Day Before Zero blog here and at Brian Krebs's security blog here, with a longer analysis on the blog of cybercrime expert Gary Warner on his blog here. The FBI press release concerning the case can be found here.

Posted on 15 April 2011 by Virus Bulletin

twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
googleplus.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

VB2017 paper: Walking in your enemy's shadow: when fourth-party collection becomes attribution hell

We publish the VB2017 paper and video by Kaspersky Lab researchers Juan Andres Guerrero-Saade and Costin Raiu, in which they look at fourth-party collection (spies spying on other spies' campaigns) and its implications for attribution.

Didn't come to VB2017? Tell us why!

Virus Bulletin is a company - and a conference - with a mission: to further the research in and facilitate the fight against digital threats. To help us in this mission, we want to hear from those who didn't come to Madrid. What is your impression of…

Montreal will host VB2018

Last week, we announced the full details of VB2018, which will take place 3-5 October 2018 at the Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth hotel in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

VB2017 preview: Beyond lexical and PDNS (guest blog)

In a special guest blog post, VB2017 Silver sponsor Cisco Umbrella writes about a paper that researchers Dhia Mahjoub and David Rodriguez will present at the conference this Friday.

Avast to present technical details of CCleaner hack at VB2017

The recently discovered malicious CCleaner version has become one of the biggest security stories of 2017. Two researchers from Avast, the company that had recently acquired CCleaner developer Piriform, will share the results of their investigations…