Participants of the operation told how Microsoft eliminated the infrastructure of the ZLoader botnet

Last week, Microsoft, ESET, Black Lotus Labs, Palo Alto Networks, Health-ISAC and Financial Services-ISAC took control of the infamous ZLoader botnet following an injunction issued by the U.S. Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

In the end, the company seized control of 65 hard-coded domains that ZLoader operators use to control the botnet, as well as 319 more DGA-registered domains that the hackers used to create redundant communication channels.

The ZLoader botnet consists of computing devices in businesses, hospitals, schools and homes around the world and is operated by an international criminal group that offers malware as a service (MaaS) designed to steal and extort money. During the investigation, we found that one of the perpetrators of creating a component used in the ZLoader botnet to distribute ransomware is Denis Malikov, who lives in the city of Simferopol on the Crimean peninsula. We decided to name the person linked with this case to make it clear that cybercriminals are not allowed to hide behind online anonymity to commit their crimes.experts say.

Let me remind you that around the same time, another Botnet Fodcha Attacks More Than 100 Victims Daily.

Zloader (aka Terdot or DELoader) is a well-known banking Trojan that was first discovered back in August 2015 during attacks on clients of several British financial companies. Its capabilities include capturing screenshots, harvesting cookies, stealing credentials and banking information, conducting reconnaissance on the device, triggering “pinning” mechanisms on the device, providing remote access to attackers, and so on. The malware is almost entirely based on the source code of the Zeus Trojan, which leaked over a decade ago.

At first, the malware was actively used to attack banks around the world, from Australia and Brazil to North America, and its ultimate goal was to collect financial data using web injections and social engineering in order to trick infected bank customers into giving up their authentication codes and credentials.

But in recent years, Zloader has evolved to include many other features, such as being able to act as a backdoor and give hackers remote access to an infected system, and it can also be used as a malware loader and to install additional payloads.

Microsoft and the ZLoader botnet
ZLoader Attack Scheme

However, cybercriminality does not stop – we recently reported that Cyclops Blink botnet attacks Asus routers.

Errol Weiss
Errol Weiss

Health-ISAC’s Chief Security Officer Errol Weiss said that legal solutions, such as the one that led to the fall of the ZLoader infrastructure, are being prepared in large-scale cooperation with a wide variety of organizations, including those affected by attacks by cybercriminals. For example, such as Health-ISAC.

Weiss told SC Media that, in fact, Microsoft has gone to court to grant them ownership of the infrastructure used by the bot.

They created a legal and technical strategy, combined, to use civil lawsuits filed against criminal gangs, botnet operators. They’d use the civil lawsuits, racketeering laws, and copyright law to show that those botnets were causing immediate harm to their customers. You can imagine all of the politics and socialization that had to happen in the background to make this happen.Errol Weiss said.

Helga Smith

I was always interested in computer sciences, especially data security and the theme, which is called nowadays "data science", since my early teens. Before coming into the Virus Removal team as Editor-in-chief, I worked as a cybersecurity expert in several companies, including one of Amazon's contractors. Another experience: I have got is teaching in Arden and Reading universities.

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