About 90 percent of the command and control servers running YoyoDdos, the nickname given the botnet by researchers at Arbor Networks who have been studying and tracking it, have IP addresses in China, and two-thirds of its victim websites are out of China. The botnet has attacked around 180 websites so far, including 32 in the U.S.
"It is a pretty active botnet," says Jeff Edwards, a research analyst with Arbor who has been analyzing the botnet, which first appeared in Arbor's honeypot servers back in March. "We've detected a lot of attacks coming out of it ... [around] ten unique victims a day."
The malware itself isn't particularly sophisticated, however. "It's pretty typical of a lot of malware we see," he says. "It's a fairly non-sophisticated piece of malware, but effective."
YoyoDdos has taken down online merchants, blogs, forums, poker sites, and some hosting providers, Edwards says. "We've seen attacks going on for one or two days. If you're an online merchant and your site is taken down for one or two days, that's pretty serious."
Edwards says the bot malware may be spread via spam messages -- it appears to infect victims via malicious links that download the executable. Arbor isn't sure just how many bots it contains at this time.
Communications-wise, YoyoDdos uses some basic obfuscation in the protocol that the bot uses to communicate with the control server. "It was easy to reverse-engineer," he says.
Meanwhile, Arbor has written an algorithm to detect the bot. "It's also able to identify characteristics of the DDoS flooding against the victim, so we can positively identify that with high precision," he says. Edwards posted a blog earlier this week with technical details on YoyoDddos.
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