Cybercrime may not be as cool as my brain thinks it every time I hear it, but it’s a huge problem. Even in 2022, we can still successfully run sophisticated phishing scams targeting fairly savvy PC users. Some of these digital attacks are huge and consist of large numbers of bad actors around the world who then go on to infect more machines. These form so-called botnets, like the million-strong botnet that Google recently faced, and they cause devastating damage to innocent people around the world.
Microsoft recently announced legal and technical action against Zloader, another problematic botnet that is disrupting people’s lives. Zloader is a notorious botnet that runs on computers all over the world, even in hospitals and schools. It’s known for installing malware and then blackmailing users, even selling the ability to distribute ransomware to other criminals.
Zloader has been known to distribute one such ransomware, Ryuk, which specifically targets hospitals and medical institutions. Then it extorts payments from patients, which is just some really evil stuff.
It almost sounds like the American healthcare system. It’s almost like charging people for their health care creates an uneven playing field of desperation and creates a well-established population to be targeted by scams. almost.
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That’s why Microsoft’s court order from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia is such good news. This allows Microsoft to control the 65 known domains Zloader uses for location, growth, and communication. Zloader has a known domain generator that Microsoft also has court clearance to locate, and is trying to block future registrations.
Microsoft also revealed one of the people behind the creation and distribution of the Zloader botnet. The company explained that the decision was made to remove the anonymity of cybercriminals.
Considering the use of Zloader, that sounds fair to Denis Malikov, a creator living in the city of Simferopol. Microsoft also said this, and the legal action taken, comes after months of investigations into the botnet by its Digital Crimes unit.
Hopefully this all means that Zloader will now be quite disturbed. Microsoft and law enforcement are said to continue their efforts to shut down Zloader as they anticipate the botnet will try to recover itself, although action has been taken so far.