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.

Endpoint

10/2/2012
01:41 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Microsoft Hands Off Nitol Botnet Sinkhole Operation To Chinese CERT

Notorious 3322.org domain operator has agreed to cooperate with Microsoft and Chinese Computer Emergency Response Team to block malicious traffic, malware, in the domain

Microsoft has dropped its lawsuit filed last month against a notorious domain provider that was hosting a large portion of the so-called Nitol botnet and other malicious activities, which were sinkholed by Microsoft last month in another of the software giant's botnet takedown operations.

Richard Domingues Boscovich, assistant general counsel for the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, announced today in a blog post that Microsoft has dismissed its lawsuit against 3322.org due to an agreement struck with Peng Yon, the operator of the domain. "As part of the settlement, the operator of 3322.org, Peng Yong, has agreed to work in cooperation with Microsoft and the Chinese Computer Emergency Response Team (CN-CERT)," Boscovich said.

Under the agreement, Yon will again run 3322.org and block all connections that are identified in a blacklist provided by CN-CERT, as well as add subdomains identified by Microsoft and CN-CERT to be associated with malware. That traffic will be redirected to a sinkhole operated by CN-CERT. And Yon will "Cooperate, to the extent necessary, in all reasonable and appropriate steps to identify the owners of infected computers in China and assist those individuals in removing malware infection from their computers," according to Boscovich.

Microsoft is handing over all evidence and discovery from its investigation to CN-CERT, which, along with Yon, will work to identify the offenders behind the malicious subdomains. "We're very pleased by this outcome, which will help guarantee that the 70,000 malicious subdomains associated with 3322.org will never again be used for cybercrime," Microsoft's Boscovich said.

During the 16 days when Microsoft was running the sinkhole for the 70,000 malicious subdomains, it blocked more than 609 million connections from more than 7,650,000 unique IP addresses to the bad 3322.org subdomains. Legitimate subdomains were provided DNS service. "For example, on Sept. 25, we successfully processed 34,954,795 DNS requests for 3322.org subdomains that were not on our block list," he said.

The action against the 3322.org came out of a sinkhole operation Microsoft executed last month to stop the Nitol botnet out of China that was also spread via counterfeit software secretly embedded with the malware. Microsoft won a court order to host 3322.org, out of which the Nitol botnet operated. The domain also hosted some 500 different strains of malware, including Nitol.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia had granted Microsoft's request for an ex parte restraining order against Peng Yong, his company, and other John Does.

"We believe the action against the Nitol botnet was particularly effective because it disrupted more than 500 different strains of malware -- potentially impacting several cybercriminal operations," Boscovich said.

He also expanded on Microsoft's findings about malware-ridden computers being sold to consumers. Microsoft discovered Nitol while investigating how cybercriminals are abusing the third-party software supply chain with counterfeit software rigged with malware -- one of the vectors Nitol used to spread its bot malware. "While there have been some reports that the malware in this case was being installed on computers at the factory, we have no evidence to support this claim. Our study showed that the malware was more likely than not being pre-installed on computers after they had left the factory but before they were delivered to the consumer," he said.

"Cybercriminals did and continue to do this by having disreputable distributors or resellers load malware-infected counterfeit software onto computers that have shipped from the PC manufacturer without an operating system, or in some cases, with an operating system that a customer doesn't want. Those infected computers are then loaded with a desired operating system that is often laden with malware and then sold to unassuming customers," Boscovich said.

A copy of the court filings is available here.

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. Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 10/23/2020
7 Tips for Choosing Security Metrics That Matter
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer,  10/19/2020
Russian Military Officers Unmasked, Indicted for High-Profile Cyberattack Campaigns
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  10/19/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-13100
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-26
Arista’s CloudVision eXchange (CVX) server before 4.21.12M, 4.22.x before 4.22.7M, 4.23.x before 4.23.5M, and 4.24.x before 4.24.2F allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and restart) in the ControllerOob agent via a malformed control-plane packet.
CVE-2020-25470
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-26
AntSword 2.1.8.1 contains a cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the View Site funtion. When viewing an added site, an XSS payload can be injected in cookies view which can lead to remote code execution.
CVE-2020-7751
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-26
This affects all versions of package pathval.
CVE-2020-27678
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-26
An issue was discovered in illumos before 2020-10-22, as used in OmniOS before r151030by, r151032ay, and r151034y and SmartOS before 20201022. There is a buffer overflow in parse_user_name in lib/libpam/pam_framework.c.
CVE-2020-27388
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-23
Multiple Stored Cross Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities exist in the YOURLS Admin Panel, Versions 1.5 - 1.7.10. An authenticated user must modify a PHP plugin with a malicious payload and upload it, resulting in multiple stored XSS issues.