Print 14 comment(s) - last by CZroe.. on Sep 27 at 6:33 PM

"It's open season on botnets. The hunting licenses have been handed out, and we're coming back for more." -- Microsoft's senior attorney Richard Boscovich
The domains now owned by Microsoft were part of the Waledac botnet

Much of the spam and malicious internet attacks that web surfers and email users have to deal with on a daily basis come from compromised computers of individuals who have no idea that their machines are infected. These botnets are a major security issue for all web users and shutting them down is a huge goal for security firms and the U.S. government.

One of the largest software companies on the planet is working hard to combat these botnets. Microsoft has sought legal approval to attack botnets and destroy them to limit the amount of spam and the number of attacks that are perpetrated against computer users. This isn't merely an altruistic endeavor on the part of Microsoft, the vast majority of compromised computers that help these botnets operate are running the Windows operating system and the millions of Hotmail users get as much as 650 million spam emails per day originating in part from botnets.

Courts in the U.S. District Court of Eastern Virginia granted Microsoft's motion to give the software giant permanent ownership of 276 web domains that were once used by the Waledac cybergang to send instructions to the hundreds of thousands of composed PCs that made up the botnet and spread spam online. 
USA Today reports that Microsoft's dealt its first major blow in February when the court issued a temporary restraining order taking the 276 domains offline.

The ruling to grant Microsoft ownership of all 276 domains is uncommon according to Microsoft's senior attorney Richard Boscovich, because the owner of the domains could not be reached to mount a courtroom defense. According to Microsoft, the Waledac botnet was at its peak in 2009 sending out as much as 1.5 billion spam messages daily. The botnet was so prolific that Microsoft added repair and removal tools for the Waledac software to its free malicious software removal tool.

Microsoft also stated that after the command center for the botnet was taken out, it recorded tens of thousands of infected PCs that tried to reach the command center for instruction. Over a single 7-day period, Microsoft counted 58,000 PCs attempting 14.6 million connections to the 276 Waledac domains that it owns.

Microsoft isn't alone in its fight against botnets, the FBI caught a botnet kingpin in July that was part of the  botnet responsible for the mariposa virus.

Boscovich said, "It's open season on botnets. The hunting licenses have been handed out, and we're coming back for more."

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By semo on 9/9/2010 10:02:04 AM , Rating: 5
That's one type of hostile take over by Microsoft that I won't mind or criticize.

RE: good
By CZroe on 9/9/10, Rating: -1
RE: good
By geddarkstorm on 9/9/2010 12:35:53 PM , Rating: 4
You know, some people would complain if they were hung by a new rope.

RE: good
By ClownPuncher on 9/9/2010 2:45:12 PM , Rating: 3
I prefer them to be broken in a bit, the new ones chafe.

RE: good
By CZroe on 9/27/2010 6:33:01 PM , Rating: 2
That was my point, actually.

RE: good
By StevoLincolnite on 9/9/2010 1:11:20 PM , Rating: 4
I'm not saying that MS would abuse it, but it's still a HUGE risk that I'm sure their competitors aren't comfortable with (many botnet PCs are part of corporate networks).

And have Microsoft risk a multi-Billion dollar Anti-Trust fine? I doubt it.

Part 2
By Justin Time on 9/9/2010 6:04:28 PM , Rating: 5
Microsoft detects all infected computers and sends a message.

"We have detected that your computer is a member of the XXXX botnet.

Clearly, you are too stupid and/or irresponsible to have a computer, therefore we are disabling it permanently.

Have a nice day."

RE: Part 2
By UnauthorisedAccess on 9/9/2010 7:39:16 PM , Rating: 2
So long as they can give us techos a heads up when they're doing it, so I know not to answer my phone when my noob family members start calling XD

Spam Hunters...
By vortmax2 on 9/9/2010 10:55:19 AM , Rating: 4
Sounds like a new Discovery Channel show...hmmm.

RE: Spam Hunters...
By AnotherGuy on 9/9/2010 11:08:24 AM , Rating: 2
Wipe em all out... I want those PCs either Burned or at least Hard formatted!

I've been meaning to...
By chagrinnin on 9/9/2010 11:23:00 AM , Rating: 3
...suggest a story on the drop in spam. I've actually gone a whole day in the last month without a single spam. About a month ago I was getting around 40 a day and suddenly it's 2 or 3.

If your responsible,... THANK YOU Microsoft!

RE: I've been meaning to...
By chagrinnin on 9/9/2010 2:34:02 PM , Rating: 2
...damn, spoke too soon. Just checked,... seventeen spam e-mails. It was nice while it lasted.

I'd like to think there's a special "inbox" in hell for spammers,...but a jail cell on earth would suffice.

just cleaning out the pipes
By darckhart on 9/9/2010 6:35:45 PM , Rating: 2
These botnets are a major security issue for all web users and shutting them down is a huge goal for security firms and the U.S. government. This will allow legitimate companies to increase their share of legal spam (also known as targeted ads) to your inbox instead.

there. fixed that for you.

By EricMartello on 9/11/2010 3:54:12 PM , Rating: 1
I hardly get any spam and I attribute that to not signing up for every stupid ass offer or website out there. If you're getting inundated with "targeted ads" is definitely YOUR fault.

Spammers may be a pest but nothing is more annoying than people with a bloated sense of entitlement and no desire to accept responsibility for their own actions. If you sign up for a free offer or whatever, and you know you did at some point, you can and should expect that email to start receiving lots of junk email.

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