Published: April 26, 2020 on our newsletter Security Fraud News & Alerts Newsletter.
There is some positive news in these trying times. Cybersecurity teams from across 35 countries, have dismantled one of the world’s largest network of bots. According to reports, the Necurs network, is believed to have infected more than nine million computers across the globe. Researchers think it has been operated by a group hailing from Russia and was used for such scams as fake pharmaceutical scams and romance scams, as well as used for stealing online banking credentials and personal information.
A botnet is a network of infected devices that are connected to the Internet and used like a robot army to commit coordinated cyberattacks. Criminals can use these botnets to remotely take over computers, mobile devices, and internet-connected devices, such as personal assistants (Alexa), Wi-Fi connected thermostats, and more. They can install any type of malicious software. This malware can then be used to send spam, collect information on users, and/or delete information without the owner’s knowledge.
Interestingly, a team at Microsoft—one of the companies involved in this mission--used a technique that Necurs used, against the network itself. This was to use an algorithm to predict over six million unique domain names that were likely to be used within the following 25 months. These names were reported to the countries in which they were likely to be purchased and were subsequently blocked. Ultimately, this helped find the cybercriminals.
The Necurs botnet is one of the largest networks of its kind. It has found victims in nearly every country in the world. According to a statement from Microsoft, “During a 58-day period in our investigation, for example, we observed that one Necurs-infected computer sent a total of 3.8 million spam emails to over 40.6 million potential victims.”
To keep your computers and devices protected, always keep your eyes open for spam email messages that may contain malware. Never click links or attachments from unknown senders, that you are not expecting, or that you cannot be 100% sure are safe. Look for typos, poor grammar, and overall poorly written communications. If anything is amiss, trash it. Also, don’t forget to update your devices as soon as something is available. And most certainly always have antivirus software installed and kept up-to-date on all of your devices.
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