Grum botnet's command-and-control servers shut down

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Jul 19, 2012

Spam-sending botnet believed to be third largest in the world.

International co-operation between a number of parties has led to all command-and-control servers of the 'Grum' botnet being taken down.

The takedown gives a good insight into how these operations work, and how co-operation is essential:

During the weekend, two command-and-control servers, based in the Netherlands and Panama, were taken down, leaving the botnet to depend on a single server located in Russia. However, the botherders responded quickly and started using a second server located in the Ukraine. (Even more than Russia, Ukraine has a reputation of being a safe haven for cybercriminal activities.)

Quick action by a number of organizations and individuals, including FireEye, Spamhaus and Russia-based CERT-GIB, helped to provide the hosting ISPs with evidence of what the servers were being used for. This then led to the shutdown of all remaining command-and-control servers on 18 July.

Grum has long had a reputation for sending vast amounts of spam. According to data from Spamhaus, some 120,000 different IP addresses were sending spam every day. Because many infected machines are likely to be located behind firewalls that block outbound SMTP connections, the total number of infections is probably much higher than this.

Writing on his company's blog, FireEye's Atif Mushtaq says that the main lesson he learned from this takedown is that there are no safe havens for cybercriminals any longer. For the fight against cybercrime this is, of course, a good thing.

More at FireEye's blog here, with an earlier story, focusing on the Dutch authorities' successful efforts to take down the Dutch command-and-control server, at Threatpost here.

Posted on 19 July 2012 by Virus Bulletin

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