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Spanish Government, Security Firms Stub Mariposa Botnet

Security forces in Spain along with Panda Security and Defense Intelligence both, security companies declared that three men were arrested because they allegedly operated a botnet called Mariposa.

Mariposa, which clandestinely snatched control of computers after infecting them, recruited those systems into an army of zombie PCs that formed the botnet. The network captured keystrokes and stole login credentials from contaminated computers. Thereafter it transmitted the information over to a central command-and-control (C&C) server of the remote hackers.

Reportedly, the data, which the botnet targeted, consisted of usernames, passwords and bank account information. Sometimes the enslaved bots were even dragged into DOS assaults. Furthermore, the botnet-controllers as well sold the stolen logins pertaining to Internet services and other pay-per-install toolbars through Mariposa.

States Defense Intelligence that Mariposa was expanded via an amalgamation of peer-to-peer networks, instant messenger applications and USB sticks. According to the company, it has seen attempts at MSN Messenger being leveraged to disseminate malware.

Mariposa reportedly, had contaminated innumerable computers across 190 countries that were located in government agencies, around 50% of the 1,000 biggest organizations, about 40 large financial institutions, schools and homes. Said CEO Chris Davis of Defense Intelligence Inc. the detector of the virus in 2009, his company needed to disable the botnet, especially detach the head. The Times of India published this on March 4, 2010.

Said Senior Research Advisor Pedro Bustamante at Panda Security that the company's initial investigation showed that the bot-controllers didn't possess sophisticated hacking expertise. That was frightening as currently it proved the degree of sophistication and efficacy in malware dissemination that enabled even unprofessional cyber-criminals to cause vital financial loss and damage, Bustamante added. EWeek.com reported this on March 3, 2010.

Meanwhile about the arrests, it's said they're important, as it's not often that the ringleaders responsible for the largest bot networks are knocked off. Moreover, those who're suspected aren't the typical brilliant code makers involved in cyber-crime. Rather, there are underworld contacts that help them in constructing and running the botnet.

However, the suspects, who are found to be Spaniards, may get a six-year imprisonment if proved guilty of hacking.

Related article: Spamhaus’ List Of 10 Worst International Spammers

» SPAMfighter News - 11-03-2010

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