Microsoft shuts down the global spam network with court order

26 Feb 2010, dilip Comments: | Views: 1801 | | Category: Computers, Internet News

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Are you frequently getting spam mails offering you millions of fund to get it transferred as a secret mission, or you getting spam mails saying you have money to be returned as Tax exemption. Every day our inboxes get many of those spam mails. Some of them are affecting innocent people with fraud. Now you can expect a decrease in number of SPAM mails  . Microsoft announced a significant break through in fight against bots that send these spam mails...

 Microsoft has won court approval to shut down a global network of computers which it says is responsible for more than 1.5 billion spam messages every day. 

A US judge granted the firm's request to shut down 277 internet domains, which it said were used to "command and control" the so-called Waledac botnet.

A botnet is a network of infected computers under the control of hackers. The firm said that closing the domains would mean that up to 90,000 PCs would stop receiving orders to send out spam.

On Microsoft blog Tim Cranton (Associate General Counsel) said  " I’m proud to announce that through legal action and technical cooperation with industry partners, we have executed a major botnet takedown of Waledac, a large and well-known “spambot.

The takedown of the Waledac botnet that Microsoft executed this week – known internally as “Operation b49” – was the result of months of investigation and the innovative application of a tried and true legal strategy. One of the 10 largest botnets in the US and a major distributor of spam globally, Waledac is estimated to have infected hundreds of thousands of computers around the world and, prior to this action, was believed to have the capacity to send over 1.5 billion spam emails per day. In a recent analysis, Microsoft found that between December 3-21, 2009, approximately 651 million spam emails attributable to Waledac were directed to Hotmail accounts alone, including offers and scams related to online pharmacies, imitation goods, jobs, penny stocks and more. ”
 

Botnets???

 

Botnets - networks of compromised computers controlled by hackers known as “bot-herders” - have become a serious problem in cyberspace.The compromised computers works as slave computers to the bot server often without the knowledge of the owner of the computer.  Their proliferation has led some to worry that the botnet problem is unsolvable. Under the control of a hacker or group of hackers, botnets are often used to conduct various attacks ranging from denial of service attacks on websites, to spamming, click fraud, and distribution of new forms of malicious software.
 

Computers called command and control servers are responsible for commanding the infected computers allowing the bot-herder to put the bit-net to use. Botnets often rent out or sell part of their botnets to other attackers for their use (ofcourse for bad deeds). The larger the botnet the more malicious it is and bigger the cyber crime it can commit. 

Is it over now?

Microsoft says- three days into the effort, Operation b49 has effectively shut down connections to the vast majority of Waledac-infected computers. But the disruption is not permanent, the operation hasn’t cleaned the infected computers and is not a silver bullet for undoing all the damage  Waledac might have caused. Although the zombies are now largely out of the bot-herders’ control, they are still infected with the original malware.  

To help make sure you are not infected by this or other botnets, Microsoft advises  to follow the “protect your PC” guidance available at http://www.microsoft.com/protect .  

People running Windows machines can visit the Microsoft Security Web site, where they can find Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool, which removes Waledac. It is also  recommended that Windows users install and maintain up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware programs such as Microsoft Security Essentials and turn on auto updates and firewalls.  

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