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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Crackdown on Mariposa: Botnet Infected 13 Million PCs

Security software firms worked with international law enforcement agencies, the FBI and the Georgia Tech Information Security Center to neutralize and eventually arrest three criminals who allegedly masterminded a massive botnet scam that ensnared more than 13 million PCs.  The suspects, who officials say called themselves the “Nightmare Days Team” and dubbed their botnet project “Mariposa,” were arrested at their Basque Country residence by Spanish authorities last month.  The arrests came after a year-long investigation by local law enforcement agencies and security software vendors Panda Security, which is headquartered in Bilbao, Spain, and Defence Intelligence of Ottawa, Ontario.

Though security experts described the hacking trio as “relatively unskilled cyber criminals,” they managed to use Mariposa—the Spanish word for butterfly—to steal account login information for social media sites, online e-mail services, user names and passwords to banking accounts and credit card data by infiltrating more than 12.7 million compromised personal, corporate and government IP addresses in more than 190 countries.

Email Article Print Article Comment on this article Share Articles Digg Newsvine Facebook Google LinkedIn MySpace Reddit Slashdot StumbleUpon Technorati Twitter Windows Live YahooBuzz FriendFeed “Our preliminary analysis indicates that the botmasters did not have advanced hacking skills,” Pedro Bustamante, Panda Security’s senior research advisor, said in a blog posting detailing the attacks and subsequent investigation.

Related Articles Database Security Lacking at Financial Services Firms McAfee Fingers Microsoft IE Flaw in Google Attack Kneber Botnet Pierces 2,500 Organizations McAfee Finds Spike In Malware From China Investigators said the hackers attacked vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser software to infect machines with the Mariposa bot client.

Posted on 03/03