In the past few years, botnets keep cropping up, causing headaches for IT managers around the world. Botnets are networks of computers that have been compromised by malware. They are difficult to detect since they are controlled remotely by cybercriminals. The victim’s computers are sometimes called “bots” or “zombies” because they are following a cybercriminal’s orders without the victim’s knowledge.
Here are seven botnets that IT managers need to watch out for:
- Lethic proxies all traffic between the spammer and the destination mail server and uses simple, but effective, encryption. This troublesome botnet is responsible for 28 percent of the world’s spam.
- ZeroAccess, the fastest-growing botnet, has grown from 1 million to more than 2 million super nodes in just a few months. It is an ad-click fraud mechanism that instructs victims’ computers to click on ads on specific websites.
- Cutwail was responsible for infecting computers that distributed DoS attacks against hundreds of websites (even the websites of the CIA and FBI) back in 2010. More recently, Cutwail is guilty of running large-scale spamming campaigns with malicious HTML attachments.
- SpyEye is used to steal consumer-banking information; this sneaky botnet steals money from its victims while providing reassurance that their money is still safe in their accounts. It is a Trojan that picks up login credentials and initiates transactions.
- Flashback infected hundreds of thousands of Mac computers last year. Now, Flashback has set its sights on collecting passwords to sites like PayPal and Google to allow cybercriminals to take over users’ accounts.
- Zeus was once considered to be the “God of DIY botnets.” It enables criminals to steal banking information by spreading through email or drive-by infections. In October 2012, there were an estimated 944 Zeus C&C active servers.
- Citadel is based on Zeus’ original code and, with its new capabilities, is often called “Zeus on steroids.” Citadel stands out due to the way it has been sold and marketed to cybercriminals. Its developers created a social network to serve as technical support for the botnet, helping criminals collaborate on new ways to reach unsuspecting victims.