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.

Risk

3/28/2011
11:54 AM
Dave Methvin
Dave Methvin
Commentary
50%
50%

Microsoft Wins A Botnet Battle

The Rustok botnet was estimated to be one million PCs strong, underlining the dangers that malware can cause to businesses and consumers.

Botnets are a threat not only to businesses and consumers, but to governments as well. A botnet can be used as a huge army in cyberwarfare, effectively disabling communication channels by clogging critical Internet paths or Web sites. Unlike many weapons programs, a botnet can be self-funding and doesn't require technology that's embargoed by major nations like the United States. The commercial crime not only brings in money, but provides a "cover story" for why the botnet was created in the first place. At any point, however, the botnet can become a weapon of war if it is controlled by a country.

Microsoft has its own take on how to combat botnets: "It's like a gang setting up a drug den in someone's home while they're on vacation and coming back to do so every time the owner leaves the house, without the owner ever knowing anything is happening. Homeowners can better protect themselves with good locks on their doors and security systems for their homes. Similarly, computer owners can be better protected from malware if they run up-to-date software -- including up-to-date antivirus and anti-malware software -- on their computers.

Although anti-malware software can help, its effectiveness is far from perfect. The botnet creators are constantly working on ways to mask their infection vectors, and are often successful. Combine that with the gullibility of many users and some simple social engineering techniques ("free porn, don't worry about the antivirus warning, it's a known bug") and many PCs that are technically protected still become infected. Once it's established on the PC, the botnet software often disables any antivirus software, and may even turn off Windows Updates to prevent programs like the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool from running.

Large enterprises can be a prime source of raw PC material for botnets, but they also have tools that consumers don't have for detecting and fixing botnet infections. The most important of these are network monitoring. Botnets have to communicate with a "controller" on the Internet in order to receive their marching orders. By analyzing the Internet traffic traveling through the corporate firewall, the network admins may be able to find suspicious patterns.

Botnet operators are often opportunistic in their attacks. If they happen to find that they have taken over a PC in an enterprise, they may sell the control of that PC to someone who would like to make a targeted attack on that company. At that point it's no longer just a case of your company's PCs being used for bad things. Your company's PCs have become a vector being used to attack the company itself. The potential for losses of both money and information are almost unlimited. That risk alone is the best justification for your company to actively monitor and combat its PCs being turned into botnet fodder.


Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Data Leak Week: Billions of Sensitive Files Exposed Online
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/10/2019
Intel Issues Fix for 'Plundervolt' SGX Flaw
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/11/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-5252
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
There is an improper authentication vulnerability in Huawei smartphones (Y9, Honor 8X, Honor 9 Lite, Honor 9i, Y6 Pro). The applock does not perform a sufficient authentication in a rare condition. Successful exploit could allow the attacker to use the application locked by applock in an instant.
CVE-2019-5235
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
Some Huawei smart phones have a null pointer dereference vulnerability. An attacker crafts specific packets and sends to the affected product to exploit this vulnerability. Successful exploitation may cause the affected phone to be abnormal.
CVE-2019-5264
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
There is an information disclosure vulnerability in certain Huawei smartphones (Mate 10;Mate 10 Pro;Honor V10;Changxiang 7S;P-smart;Changxiang 8 Plus;Y9 2018;Honor 9 Lite;Honor 9i;Mate 9). The software does not properly handle certain information of applications locked by applock in a rare condition...
CVE-2019-5277
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Huawei CloudUSM-EUA V600R006C10;V600R019C00 have an information leak vulnerability. Due to improper configuration, the attacker may cause information leak by successful exploitation.
CVE-2019-5254
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Certain Huawei products (AP2000;IPS Module;NGFW Module;NIP6300;NIP6600;NIP6800;S5700;SVN5600;SVN5800;SVN5800-C;SeMG9811;Secospace AntiDDoS8000;Secospace USG6300;Secospace USG6500;Secospace USG6600;USG6000V;eSpace U1981) have an out-of-bounds read vulnerability. An attacker who logs in to the board m...