Botnets pose a serious threat to online services and platforms all over the world. A typical botnet will comprise of a few ten thousand computers, but in some cases, they are much larger. Take the Dorkbot botnet, for example, which consisted of over 100,000 computers spread over 190 countries. Luckily for all of us, Dorkbot has been taken down by law enforcement and Microsoft.
The Dorkbot Botnet Gets Borked
Taking down a huge botnet is not an easy task, as it involves quite a bit of manpower. In the case of Dorkbot, law enforcement teamed up with Microsoft and the FBI to take down the humongous botnet. Keeping in mind the botnet was spread out over 190 countries, and ranks had swelled to over 100,000 computers being used for illegal purposes, it was about time Dorkbot came to an end.
There is no limit as to what a decent-sized botnet can achieve. Examples range from sending out spam emails to executing denial-of-service attacks against websites, or even stealing sensitive personal information. As you would come to expect from such a wide variety of nefarious activities, stealing financial information was one of the top priorities.
It should come as no surprise to find out Dorkbot was targeting sites like Netflix, PayPal, Twitter, and Facebook in particular. While not every country in the world has financial information linked to these services, the platforms in questions have very large user bases, making them a prime target for hackers.
In fact, the Dorkbot botnet has been around for quite some time, as law enforcement has been trying to shut down the network since April of 2011. After four and a half years, the deal has finally been sealed, and Dorkbot is no more. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other botnets waiting to take its place.
Windows computers remain the most vulnerable to malware attacks, turning computers into part of the “botnet crew”. The reason for this is quite simple: Windows is the most popular operating system in the world. Thanks to a helping hand from Microsoft’s engineers, these infections can be removed in due course.
No Details On Potential Financial Losses
At the time of publication, no information was revealed as to how much -or how little – financial information was exposed as part of the Dorkbot botnet. What we do know is how the botnet infected over one million Windows computers over the past 12 months alone, so chances are real at last some information was leaked along the way.
Bitcoin users are not safe from botnets like Dorkbot either unless they have encrypted their wallet. Every Bitcoin wallet has a specific data file containing the address and private keys, which can be imported into any Bitcoin wallet on any computer. But if password encryption is enabled, importing the file becomes useless, unless the password is cracked.
Have you ever been infected by a botnet? Let us know in the comments below!