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.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

Feds Launch Operation Bot Roast

Initiative aims to find bot herders and bring them to justice

The FBI and the Department of Justice yesterday said they have launched a new initiative designed to disrupt and dismantle botnets.

Operation Bot Roast already has identified about 1 million botnet-infected computers across the country, resulting in several arrests of bot herders.

"The majority of victims are not even aware that their computer has been compromised or their personal information exploited," said James Finch, assistant director of the FBI's Cyber Division. "An attacker gains control by infecting the computer with a virus or other malicious code and the computer continues to operate normally."

To date, the law enforcement agencies have charged or arrested three individuals under Operation Bot Roast:

  • Robert Alan Soloway of Seattle is accused of using botnets to send tens of millions of spam messages touting his Website.
  • James Brewer of Arlington, Texas, is accused of infecting tens of thousands of computers worldwide, including some at Chicago-area hospitals.
  • Jason Michael Downey of Covington, Ky., is charged with using botnets to disable other systems.

Security experts say it is more important to break up the botnets than to arrest the individuals who create them.

"You are basically cutting a tapeworm in two [with an arrest]. The infrastructure is still there, and it can be picked up by anyone who can find it or knows where it is," says Ira Winkler, author of Zen and the Art of Information Security. "Authorities might be able to see what servers he connects to that command the rest of the bots, but it is unlikely that they will kill all of the bots." (See Dismantling a Botnet.)

The effort to break up botnets also is complicated by the fact that bot herders frequently steal each other's bots and attempt to give their own botnets an advantage, experts say. (See Botnets Battle Over Turf.)

The FBI offered some tips on preventing systems from becoming botnet-infected. "There is no easy way to tell, unfortunately," if your system has been infected, the agency noted. "It may be running slowly, your outbox may be full of mail you didn’t send, and you may get mail stating you’ve sent spam."

Operation Bot Roast is "ongoing" and will continue to seek out bot herders and arrest them, the FBI and the Department of Justice said.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/2/2020
Ripple20 Threatens Increasingly Connected Medical Devices
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/30/2020
DDoS Attacks Jump 542% from Q4 2019 to Q1 2020
Dark Reading Staff 6/30/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-9498
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
Apache Guacamole 1.1.0 and older may mishandle pointers involved inprocessing data received via RDP static virtual channels. If a userconnects to a malicious or compromised RDP server, a series ofspecially-crafted PDUs could result in memory corruption, possiblyallowing arbitrary code to be executed...
CVE-2020-3282
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco Unified Communications Manager Session Management Edition, Cisco Unified Communications Manager IM & Presence Service, and Cisco Unity Connection could allow an unauthenticated, remote attack...
CVE-2020-5909
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, when users run the command displayed in NGINX Controller user interface (UI) to fetch the agent installer, the server TLS certificate is not verified.
CVE-2020-5910
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, the Neural Autonomic Transport System (NATS) messaging services in use by the NGINX Controller do not require any form of authentication, so any successful connection would be authorized.
CVE-2020-5911
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, the NGINX Controller installer starts the download of Kubernetes packages from an HTTP URL On Debian/Ubuntu system.