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April 2013 / Volume 15 / No. 3

Botnet takedowns: A dramatic defense

Botnets remain a major challenge for infosec professionals. Companies such as Microsoft and Symantec have proclaimed success using legal and technical countermeasures to disrupt a few of the Internet’s more egregious botnets, but we’re not likely to shrug ourselves free of this scourge anytime soon. The growing sophistication of the malware used to propagate bots—seen, for example in 2012’s peer-to-peer ZeroAccess bot—combined with creative monetization schemes, make botnets resurface almost as quickly as they are knocked down.  After a CrowdStrike dismantling in March 2012, the Kelihos 3 botnet, reestablished itself within 20 minutes of a significant takedown. There are steps security pros can take to help keep bots off their networks, but the infections and cyberattacks that botnets are sometimes used to launch, remain hard-to-detect malware threats for websites and increasingly, mobile devices. As much as anything, botnets are about the money. Consider the ZeroAccess bot. First identified in 2011, ZeroAccess ranked at the top...

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