'Largest takedown ever' sees six arrested

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Nov 10, 2011

Millions made through 'DNSChanger' malware.

Six Estonian nationals have been arrested for taking part in a cybercrime ring that made money through DNS-changing malware that had infected as many as four million computers.

The 'DNSChanger' malware, of which versions exist for both Windows and Mac, usually spreads via fake codecs. The malware modifies the DNS settings of the computer from using the default name servers, usually those of the user's ISP, to servers controlled by the criminals.

In most cases, requests to these servers gave the 'correct' response, but requests for specific domains led to the users being sent to servers where advertisements of the criminals' partners were being shown. It is believed more than US$14m was made through this 'clickjacking' scheme. In some cases, the DNS changes also prevented anti-virus software from functioning properly.

One of the challenges of this operation 'Ghost Click', in which the FBI worked together with a large number of industry partners, was to ensure the victims' internet connectivity would not be interrupted: simply taking down the rogue DNS servers would have led to millions not being able to use the Internet and would have put severe strain on the ISPs' help desks.

Therefore, the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC), a Californian non-profit group that develops the BIND software package, was involved to set up genuine name servers to replace the ones taken down. These replacement servers, however, do not remove any malware from the victims' machines and users who worry they may have been infected are advised to contact a computer security professional.

The FBI press release can be found here, with comments from Brian Krebs on the history of the gang here. Comments from Trend Micro and Spamhaus, both of whom were involved in the takedown, can be found here and here respectively.

Posted on 10 November 2011 by Virus Bulletin

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

 

Latest posts:

VB2018 paper: The dark side of WebAssembly

Today, we publish the VB2018 paper by Symantec researchers Aishwarya Lonkar and Siddhesh Chandrayan on the security risks that come with WebAssembly.

The Virus Bulletin conference returns home: VB2019 to take place in London

In 2019, the Virus Bulletin conference is set to return home, with VB2019 taking place in London, UK.

Guest blog: The case for increasing transparency in cybersecurity

In a guest blog post, Kaspersky Lab's Anton Shingarev considers the case for increasing transparency in cybersecurity.

VB2018 preview: Workshops

Workshops make their VB Conference debut during VB2018, giving delegates the opportunity to learn the basics of kernel-level malware analysis, Android reverse-engineering and artificial intelligence.

New article: Through the looking glass: webcam interception and protection in kernel mode

Today we publish a short article by Ronen Slavin and Michael Maltsev, researchers at Reason Software Company, who dive into the video capturing internals on Windows, and explain how this can be used by a malicious actor to steal images recorded by a…

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.