Virut botnet domains taken down
Botnets present a significant threat to cybersecurity, particularly as they grow in size and sophistication. It can be difficult to take malicious networks down when cybercriminal groups span international borders. However, spam-fighting organization Spamhaus recently announced that it has made significant progress in taking down the Virut botnet. Virut consisted of more than 300,000 machines, which were compromised via a computer worm. The malware is designed to spread through USB drives and other removable storage devices, but it can also infect files to achieve more widespread effects.
Through a collaborative effort with a number of domain registrars, Spamhaus took down many of the domain names. After the initial takedown, however, the cybercriminal group that manages Virut switched registrars to continue operations. In order to prevent the spread of virus infection to other countries, the company has reached out to Austrian and Russian organizations to remove any remaining domain names.
"How long the shut-down of Virut will last this time is unknown," Spamhaus said. "However, we remain committed to continue the fight against cyber threats. The recent Virut take down is a good model for the future: the internet has no borders, and the community can only fight cybercrime successfully with international cooperation and coordination. Spamhaus will continue to work with its partners around the globe to follow its mission, protecting internet users from cyber threats."
Botnets have been utilized for a number of digital threats in recent years. While they often play a critical role in distributed-denial-of-service attacks, cybercriminals may also use the authentication credentials found within stolen machines for other purposes. An intelligence report from Netherlands-based Fox IT security analyzed the inner workings of several botnets, finding that compromised identity credentials are often used to change content on legitimate websites, spreading malware further.
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