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Necurs zombie botnet disrupted by Microsoft – Naked Security


Microsoft announced on Tuesday that it was in on the busting-up of Necurs: one of the world’s biggest, baddest, busiest botnets.

Some consider Necurs to be the largest botnet ever, with estimates from 2017 indicating that, at the time, it consisted of more than 6,000,000 infected computers. It’s metastasized in the last three years: Microsoft said that the malware has now infected more than nine million computers globally.

The majority of infected computers looked like they were in India, but almost every country in the world seemed to be affected. Necurs has been used to pump out multiple flavors of nastiness worldwide, with the notable exception of Russia: the malware deliberately avoided infecting computers set up to use a Russian keyboard.

Up until it temporarily went offline around December 2016, it was inflicting malware that included Locky ransomware. It got its wind knocked out for a few months, but when Necurs came back in March 2017, it started belching out a huge pump-and-dump scam.

In its blog post, Microsoft said that, along with partners, it’s been spending the past eight years tracking and planning to knock the knees off Necurs. Microsoft says that coordinated legal and technical steps to disrupt the network of zombified computers will…

…help to ensure the criminals behind this network are no longer able to use key elements of its infrastructure to execute cyberattacks.

Unsurprisingly, given that it’s tiptoed around computers using Russian keyboards in the past, Necurs is thought to be operated by Russian crooks. Besides the ransomware and the spam, the botnet has also been used as an attack dog, sent to jump on other computers on the internet and to steal credentials for online accounts, people’s personally identifiable information (PII), and other confidential data.

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