Jan Vykopal, head of the security project of Masaryk University, told the Czech news agency CTK earlier this week that the Czech Defense Ministry discovered the botnet during a project called CYBER, in which several agencies have been researching ways to improve the country's cyber defenses.
The botnet's creators have dubbed the network "Chuck Norris" after the famous Hollywood actor and martial arts expert.
Researchers told the CTK that the botnet could allow operators to breach sensitive user data, such as access details for bank accounts, email boxes, passwords to various services, social networks, and other personal data.
The botnet could conceivably be used for attacks on well-secured servers, as well, Vykopal said, but the researchers are uncertain of how many devices it has martialed.
The botnet covers all of Europe and South America and reaches as far as China, Vykopal said. The central server that controlled the botnet was originally found in Italy, Vykopal told CTK.
"After we announced the existence of the network to Internet providers in the world, the main server was disconnected. However, its copies have appeared in other places in the world," Vykopal said.
Experts from Masaryk University found the botnet using a "honeypot," an Internet-connected device they deliberately let be attacked by the botnet virus in order to track down its source, Vykopal told the CTK.
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