Microsoft brings down Rustock spam botnet
The notorious Rustock botnet was finally shut down on Thursday last week in a takedown operation involving Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), industry partners and federal law enforcement agents. According to Symantec, the Rustock botnet was responsible for a large proportion of the world's spam (39 percent); the illicit computer network powering the botnet was thought to consist of close to a million compromised client computers.
The road to getting Rustock offline was not a short one; it was the culmination of a year-long investigation by Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit with assistance from various industry partners. The DCU essentially compiled a long list of pertinent information such as the domain names, IP addresses and hosting companies that botnet operators were determined to be using. In a civil suit filed last February, Microsoft sought a judge's permission to gain control of the IPs of 'controller nodes' of Rustock--and which number in the hundreds.
In a blog post, Richard Boscovich, senior attorney of the DCU described the complexity of severing the controller nodes of the botnet: "To be confident that the bot could not be quickly shifted to new infrastructure, we sought and obtained a court order allowing us to work with the U.S. Marshals Service to physically capture evidence onsite and, in some cases, take the affected servers from hosting providers for analysis."
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