Attend IT Blog

Attend IT Limited has been serving the Brentford area since 2003, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

With a Massive Botnet Recently Disrupted, Let’s Review What a Botnet Is

With a Massive Botnet Recently Disrupted, Let’s Review What a Botnet Is

It was very recently revealed that a global law enforcement effort took down a massive botnet that was in action for almost a decade. In light of this, we wanted to review what a botnet is and how it works, drawing from these events for some context.

Let’s begin by summarizing the situation.

A Botnet, Potentially the Biggest Ever, Was Disrupted

It has been alleged by the Justice Department that YunHe Wang, a 35-year-old national of the People’s Republic of China, created and disseminated malware that compromised millions of private Windows computers around the world and incorporated them into a massive botnet known as 911 S5. According to the indictment, Wang then provided access to the 19 million infected IP addresses to other cybercriminals, personally amassing millions of dollars.

Court documents state that Wang was able to accomplish this by offering a free virtual private network—allowing 911 S5 users to hide their traffic in these machines—and by bundling it in with pirated software downloads. The cybercriminals that he allegedly sold this access to then used the undermined computers to commit a litany of crimes, including cyberattacks of their own, widespread fraud, online harassment, child exploitation, export violations, and bomb threats. According to the claims made in the indictment, Wang’s approximately $99 million in sales between 2018 and July of 2022 allowed him to purchase various assets around the world, including 21 pieces of property, numerous vehicles, cryptocurrency wallets, and much more.

According to the indictment, 911 S5 has also enabled the theft of billions from financial institutions, credit card issuers, and federal lending programs, as well as fraudulent claims being made to pandemic relief programs.

Law enforcement first caught wind of this operation when IP addresses purchased from 911 S5 were used with stolen credit card details to place orders on ShopMyExchange, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service’s e-commerce platform. After an international investigation, Wang has been charged with conspiracy to commit computer fraud, substantive computer fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, as well as conspiracy to commit money laundering… all of which could potentially penalize him with 65 years in prison, should he be convicted on all counts.

So, What is a Botnet?

A botnet is a collection of Internet-connected computers and other devices that are networked together and can be used to accomplish a bad actor’s goals without the owner knowing. There are various uses that cybercriminals have for botnets. Some will use them as the muscle behind a cyberattack, committing the computing resources of every involved device to overcoming a system’s protections. Others will use them to perform credential stuffing, which is a means of breaking into an account by trying lists of stolen usernames and passwords. Some will use them to mine for cryptocurrency.

Long story short, it’s a lot of people’s devices being used without their knowledge or permission to do something most of those people likely wouldn’t approve of.

What Can We Learn from this Situation?

First and foremost, always, always, always download any software from a legitimate and verifiable source. It’s good to remember that nothing is ever free… you’ll always pay for it in some way, shape, or form. In the case of all the people who used the “free” VPN, they paid for it by having their devices co-opted for cybercriminal activity.

If you are one of these people, it is important that you remove the applications installed by 911 S5, which the FBI has provided some guidance into.

Second, 911 S5 is relevant enough that it bears bringing up the dangers of shadow IT in a business. While it was targeted at personal users and computers, is it really that hard to think that one of your team members might have installed it or something similar? You need to know that your team will not just go and install things on their own computers, and that they’ll turn to IT for help in obtaining what they need. 

Otherwise, they run the risk of installing pirated or cracked software (software with its copy protections removed), which can very easily cause both operational and legal troubles for your business… and that’s without taking the potential of being part of a botnet into account.

If you need an IT resource for your team to turn to, we’re here to help. Attend IT Limited helps Brentford and West London businesses with all things information technology, and we do it in such a way that, ideally, you won’t even know we’re there. Give us a call at 020 8626 4485 today to learn more.

Research Shows Many New Cybersecurity Professional...
Tips to Improve Your Organizational Phishing Deter...
 

Mobile? Grab this Article!

Qr Code

Tag Cloud

Security Technology Business Computing Productivity Network Security Cloud Best Practices Tip of the Week Business Data Managed IT Services Data Backup Hackers Data Recovery IT Services IT Support Hosted Solutions Innovation Software communications Disaster Recovery Backup Privacy VoIP Cybersecurity Small Business Malware Efficiency Mobile Devices Internet Saving Money Hardware Email Business Continuity Computer Cloud Computing Phishing Business Management Collaboration Outsourced IT Workplace Strategy Microsoft User Tips Ransomware BDR Automation Information Technology Productivity Smartphones Users IT Support Compliance Internet of Things Workplace Tips Training Quick Tips Smartphone Server Artificial Intelligence Communication Upgrade Risk Management Wi-Fi Employee-Employer Relationship Mobile Device Management Managed Service Provider Network Managed IT Mobility Managed IT services Budget Spam Meetings Covid-19 Remote Gadgets Social Media Passwords BYOD Google Save Money Wireless Password Android Mobile Device Networking Human Resources Avoiding Downtime Document Management Printing Information Windows 7 Remote Workers Microsoft Office VPN Remote Computing Chrome History Hosted Solution Router Current Events Instant Messaging Encryption Firewall Content Filtering Computers Data Management Cost Management Windows 10 Project Management MSP Monitoring Managed Service Virtual Private Network Help Desk Time Management Remote Work Video Conferencing Laptop Marketing Recovery Telephone Systems Government End of Support Facebook Hacker Personal Information Hard Drives Solid State Drive Virtualization Battery Automobile Telephony Big Data Two-factor Authentication Audit Office Employer-Employee Relationship Value Saving Time Data Breach Data Storage Data Security Mobile Software as a Service Conferencing Redundancy Maintenance Devices Tech Term Proactive Computing Wireless Internet Hybrid Cloud Business Technology Printers IT Service Machine Learning Paperless Office Backup and Disaster Recovery Voice over Internet Protocol Mobile Office Manufacturing Customer Relationship Management AI Printer Managed Services Mobile Computing Proactive IT Social Engineering Transportation Going Green Browser Miscellaneous Applications Private Cloud Operating System iPhone Health Windows Money Administration Colocation Windows 10 Advertising PDF Apps Legal Wireless Technology Flexibility Update Cybercrime Black Market Shadow IT Disaster Education Application Save Time Work/Life Balance Office 365 Antivirus Holiday Entertainment HIPAA Phone System Analytics Electronic Medical Records Cleaning Hacking Smart Technology Vendor Management Samsung Company Culture App SaaS Upgrades Vulnerability The Internet of Things Dark Web Nanotechnology OneNote Business Intelligence Managed IT Service Data Protection Commerce Regulation Professional Services Travel Word Apple User Error Data Loss File Sharing Storage Lifestyle Evernote Workers Spyware intranet Blockchain IoT Analysis Chromebook Smart Tech Connectivity Streaming Media Content Filter Management Financial Technology Gamification Students Unified Communications Remote Monitoring Wasting Money Amazon Virtual Assistant Alexa for Business WPA3 File Storage Bandwidth Vendor Telephone Utility Computing Payroll SMB Downtime E-Commerce Payment Cards Break/Fix e-waste Employees Smartwatch Development Azure Active Directory Windows Server Cybersecurty Window 10 Online Storage Fiber Optics Windows Server 2008 Copiers Voiceover Internet Protocol Business Telephone Computer Repair Troubleshooting CRM Workstations Outsource IT PCI DSS Regulations Compliance Cost Remote Working Leadership Bitcoin Finance Infrastructure Videoconferencing Streaming Customer Service Copier Authentication Hiring/Firing RMM Windows 11 Cabling Going Paperless Inventory Management Employer/Employee Relationships Outsourcing How To Microsoft Outlook Files Regulations Paperless Solutions Microsoft 365 Strategy Consulting Decision Making Ergonomics Signage Customer Experience Robot Google Drive Alert Law Enforcement Reputation Social Relocation Search Internet Exlporer Text Messaging Office Tips HaaS Video Games Scalability Humor How To Best Practice USB Virtual Reality Managing Stress Point of Sale Identity Theft Worker Commute Politics Experience Music Books Safety Emergency Worker Scam Computer Accessories Charger Computer Care Unsupported Software Television Business Strategy WiFi Unified Threat Management Consultant Touchscreen Emails Webinar IT solutions Windows 10s Hard Disk Drive iOS Computer Fan Root Cause Analysis Augmented Reality CrashOverride Settings Screen Mirroring Cast HBO IT Management IT Solutions WIndows Server 2008 Patch Management Outlook Shortcut Excel Sync Adobe Licensing Tablets NFL Windows Ink Google Maps Google Docs Microsoft Excel Sports Cortana Legislation Comparison Specifications Sales Retail Gifts Credit Cards FAQ Wireless Charging WannaCry Updates Microsoft Word eWaste Device Security Tech Support Fraud Edge Ciminal IT budget Identities Language Virus Websites Data Theft App store Mobile Security Identity Data Privacy Hard Drive Google Assistant Twitter Computer Forensics Gmail PowerPoint Memory Financial Bring Your Own Device Testing Camera Projects Display Co-Managed Services Hyperlink Wasting Time Accessory Peripheral Access Control Admin Keyboard Shortcuts Security Cameras Employee 5G Medical IT YouTube OneDrive Sabotage PC Server Maintenance Investment ROI Windows Server 2008 R2 Micrsosoft Digital Signage Processor Benchmarks Myths Threats Scams Managed Services Provider Facebook Privacy eCommerce Holidays Inventory Communitications Hosted Desktop Smart Devices Keyboard Net Neutrality Internet Service Provider Workstation Telework Audits Solutions Policy Procedure Organization Innovations Reviews Biometrics Computer Tips Work Windows 8.1 Voice Supply Chain Environment Workplace Strategies Print Management Healthcare SSD Remote Management Telephone System Print Database 2FA Virtual Desktop Proactive Management eSignature Cyberattack Cameras Digital Cameras Mixed Reality Displays