Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

Microsoft, FBI Slam Door On Thousands Of Citadel Botnets

The feds say Citadel is responsible for more than $500 million in losses worldwide

A joint effort by Microsoft, the FBI, and partners in the financial services and tech industries has disrupted more than 1,400 botnets that were using a piece of notorious banking malware responsible for more than a half-billion dollars in losses worldwide.

The operation, which marks Microsoft's seventh botnet takedown to date, began in early 2012, when researchers turned their attention to the infamous Citadel malware. Citadel first appeared in 2011 and is based off of the source code for the even more notorious Zeus malware that was leaked publicly that year.

According to Microsoft, Citadel has affected upward of 5 million people, with the largest numbers of infected machines residing in the U.S., Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, and Australia. Once on a machine, the malware monitors and records the victim's keystrokes in order to steal his identity and bank login information in order to loot his accounts.

"The harm done by Citadel shows the threat that botnets, malicious software, and piracy pose to individuals and businesses around the world," said Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel and executive vice president of Legal and Corporate Affairs, in a statement. "Today's coordinated action between the private sector and law enforcement demonstrates the power of combined legal and technical expertise and we're going to continue to work together to help put these cybercriminals out of business."

Last week, Microsoft filed a suit in a federal district court in North Carolina to get authorization to cut off communication between 1,462 Citadel botnets and the millions of computers in their grasp. On June 5, U.S. Marshals accompanied Microsoft to two data hosting facilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania to seize computer servers and other evidence. Microsoft also provided information about the botnets' operations to Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) around the world so they could take action as well.

"Citadel is aimed at a more 'exclusive' attacker market than its more widespread predecessor, Zeus," blogs Piotr Krysiuk, a researcher with Symantec's Security Response Team. "The Citadel kit is sold through underground Russian forums and typically costs around $3,000, compared to $100 for the SpyEye and leaked Zeus kits. Citadel users will also have to fork out a further $30 to 100 to purchase Web inject code for the banks that they wish to target. Additionally, even if attackers have that money to spend, there is a strict vetting process with referrals required for new purchasers."

According to FBI executive assistant director Richard McFeely, the operation represents the future of addressing malware threats.

"Creating successful public-private relationships -- in which tools, knowledge, and intelligence are shared -- is the ultimate key to success in addressing cyberthreats and is among the highest priorities of the FBI," he said in a statement. "We must ensure that, as cyberpolicy is developed, the ability of the private sector to coordinate in real time with the FBI is encouraged so that a multiprong attack on our cyberadversaries can be as effective as possible."

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Brian Prince is a freelance writer for a number of IT security-focused publications. Prior to becoming a freelance reporter, he worked at eWEEK for five years covering not only security, but also a variety of other subjects in the tech industry. Before that, he worked as a ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
skswave
50%
50%
skswave,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/13/2013 | 8:55:05 PM
re: Microsoft, FBI Slam Door On Thousands Of Citadel Botnets
[scrambls}cfeJD0GZBkb GGGGGG{]
skswave
50%
50%
skswave,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/13/2013 | 8:54:29 PM
re: Microsoft, FBI Slam Door On Thousands Of Citadel Botnets
@@test
AI Is Everywhere, but Don't Ignore the Basics
Howie Xu, Vice President of AI and Machine Learning at Zscaler,  9/10/2019
Fed Kaspersky Ban Made Permanent by New Rules
Dark Reading Staff 9/11/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-16317
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-14
In Pimcore before 5.7.1, an attacker with limited privileges can trigger execution of a .phar file via a phar:// URL in a filename parameter, because PHAR uploads are not blocked and are reachable within the phar://../../../../../../../../var/www/html/web/var/assets/ directory, a different vulnerabi...
CVE-2019-16318
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-14
In Pimcore before 5.7.1, an attacker with limited privileges can bypass file-extension restrictions via a 256-character filename, as demonstrated by the failure of automatic renaming of .php to .php.txt for long filenames, a different vulnerability than CVE-2019-10867 and CVE-2019-16317.
CVE-2019-16307
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-14
A Reflected Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the webEx module in webExMeetingLogin.jsp and deleteWebExMeetingCheck.jsp in Fuji Xerox DocuShare through 7.0.0.C1.609 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the handle parameter (webExMeetingLogin.jsp) and meetingKe...
CVE-2019-16294
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-14
SciLexer.dll in Scintilla in Notepad++ (x64) before 7.7 allows remote code execution or denial of service via Unicode characters in a crafted .ml file.
CVE-2019-16309
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-14
FlameCMS 3.3.5 has SQL injection in account/login.php via accountName.