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Dutch Police Takedown C&Cs Used By Grum Botnet

timothy posted about a year ago | from the why-so-grum? dept.

Botnet 45

wiredmikey writes "Dutch authorities have pulled the plug on two secondary servers used by the Grum botnet, a large botnet said to produce about 17% of the world's spam. According to researchers from FireEye, the backup C&C servers were located in the Netherlands, and once word of their existence was released, Dutch authorities quickly seized them. While any C&C server takedown is a win, the impact may be minimal, as the two primary servers are fully active, and the datacenters hosting them are unresponsive to fully documented abuse reports. That being said, FireEye's Atif Mushtaq noted that the botnet does has some weak spots, including the fact that Grum has no failback mechanism, has just a few IPs hardcoded into the binaries, and the botnet is divided into small segments, so even if some C&Cs are not taken down, part of botnet can still remain offline. The removal of the C&C servers shines light on how quickly some law enforcement agencies work, given that proof of their existence is just over a week old."

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45 comments

DUTCH ARE ALWAYS TOO ROLLING STONED !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40674427)

Like the song goes !!

Re:DUTCH ARE ALWAYS TOO ROLLING STONED !! (4, Funny)

Aviancer (645528) | about a year ago | (#40674521)

The quality of first post trolls has really decreased in the last few years.

Re:DUTCH ARE ALWAYS TOO ROLLING STONED !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40674545)

case in point, posts by Aviancer ......................

Re:DUTCH ARE ALWAYS TOO ROLLING STONED !! (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#40675981)

Either that or the quality first post trollers have really decreased in speed in the last few years.

Re:DUTCH ARE ALWAYS TOO ROLLING STONED !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40675987)

Yeah, but walk down any river street in Amsterdam and you got these little window shops, each with a hooker inside. Nowhere but Quagmire! Rolling Stoned indeed! If it weren't for Denmark and those drugged-out Danes, the Dutch would be Euro's #1 doper society.

how about kicking infected machines offline? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40674489)

I'm increasingly in favour of ISPs not routing packets from any infected machine, no matter what it's infected with.

That will remove 75% of the public from the internet, you say? Fine, I say. Until the time they learn to operate a computer in the most basic of ways, the internet will be better off without their zombied boxes spewing spam and being used for DDSing.

I don't even care what OS they use. If you can't secure whatever one you pick and operate it in a safe manner, then sorry, no internet for you. We don't tolerate putting up some factory with no pollution controls and causing air quality problems for whole cities. We don't let people fly aircraft who are unqualified to do so. The internet is a public commons, and we need to stop tolerating the incompetent ruining that commons for everyone else.

Re:how about kicking infected machines offline? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40674631)

Your post advocates a

(x) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
( ) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
(x) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
( ) Users of email will not put up with it
( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
( ) The police will not put up with it
( ) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
(x) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

(x) Laws expressly prohibiting it
( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
(x) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
( ) Asshats
( ) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
(x) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
(x) Extreme profitability of spam
( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
( ) Technically illiterate politicians
( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
( ) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
(x) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(x) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
(x) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
(x) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) Sending email should be free
(x) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
( ) I don't want the government reading my email
( ) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(x) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!

Re:how about kicking infected machines offline? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40674809)

1. It will, if implemented in the manner described, stop any computer identified as sending malicious traffic. Not for two weeks
2. This isn't about email filtering at all. This is about punitively disconnecting people from the net if their computers are shitty all over the place. If not adopted as law, it is true many will simply jump ship to an unfiltered ISP. If adopted as law, then they will be stuck. Yes, it will hurt; it is designed to.
3. Laws would need to be passed. See above. I would love to know what law prohibits ISPs from updating their TOS and refusing to route homes that are a source of spam.
4. How do open relays elsewhere figure into this at all?
5. This has some merit.
6. This doesn't. This is not a fine/fee based approach.
7. This also doesn't apply
8. Wrong. My university did this approach exactly. Any computer sending out packets that matched their viral activity signatures was not routed until you proved you cleaned it.
9. They do. Good thing it is simply a subset of the customer list the ISP already has. It's not like YOU need a blacklist.
10. This isn't sabotage.
11. You already trust your ISP's servers

In short, you didn't even fucking read GP's post before filling out a form you no doubt don't understand.

Re:how about kicking infected machines offline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40674847)

In short, you didn't even fucking read GP's post

I was about to say something similar when you beat me to it. His check marks made no sense in the context of the thing he was replying to.

But hey, it's the standard form, it must be modded up. Never mind actual thinking.

Re:how about kicking infected machines offline? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40674919)

1. You've missed the point: it will work for "two weeks", as in, only until the spammers find some other method or workaround.
2. It's packet filtering (a firewall dropping all packets).
3. Yay, more laws! Let's just ignore the places where it will directly contradict existing laws.
4. Because the non-solution doesn't stop spam via. open relays.
6. Profit is a motivation for finding workaround or other methods.
8. Oh, your University did it so it must be a great idea for the entire Internet? Gotcha.
9. You are again missing the point.
10. Yes it is.
11. I do not trust my ISP to not fuck up something as complex as detecting a remote malware infected server and firewalling it effectively.

In short: you're wrong.

Oh, so just do nothing instead... right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40678413)

You advocate apathy! That's where You go wrong. Regarding filtering (which is better than doing zero as you seem to advocate, which in turn, makes me suspect you're a botnet master yourself actually). Blacklists and filtering are far better than your do nothing approach (which is the easiest thing to come up with, despite you stating other ideas are "so easy to come up with", I don't see you suggesting better. Yes, you're horseshit is even easier and ANY FOOL can be an apathetic do nothing that talks a lot but does nothing which you definitely show us you are ALL about). Why don't you do us all a favor and shut up, ok? Thank you.

Re:how about kicking infected machines offline? (2)

Claw919 (604849) | about a year ago | (#40674875)

Ugh. The flip side of this is that the ISPs in question will be bogged down by a million calls from 75 year old grandparents who can't check their grandkids' Facebook pages for pictures of the family BBQ, and trying to talk them through it. In essence, the ISP becomes free (but encumbered) technical support, trying to talk nontechnical people through virus/trojan removal over the phone, with the cost of failure being a cancelled account ("since you guys won't let me go online").

Re:how about kicking infected machines offline? (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#40674961)

I'd see it as a business opportunity. "We'll send someone to your home who will fix your problem for a fixed fee of $99. Or we will send you an iPad for $399".

Re:how about kicking infected machines offline? (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about a year ago | (#40675307)

What i would like to see is a Disc Builder that has

1 a self booting Anti-[redacted]ware program
2 a Patching program (like WSUSOffline)
3 a Ninite type speedloader
4 a set of "Gold" install files for Windows (to be used if the OS is trashed completely)
5 a Keyfinder and basic backup program

Re:how about kicking infected machines offline? (1)

jxander (2605655) | about a year ago | (#40676251)

I could see something like this working ... I have to get my car smog-checked before it's allowed to operate on public roads. Why not enforce some similar test for computers accessing public network infrastructure?

Re:how about kicking infected machines offline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40676949)

Why not enforce some similar test for computers accessing public network infrastructure?

Because that would require that people not be total morons, and we can't have THAT, can we?

Antecedent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40674491)

>>quickly some law enforcement agencies work, given that proof of their existence is just over a week old.

Young agency?

Re:Antecedent (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40674557)

>>quickly some law enforcement agencies work, given that proof of their existence is just over a week old.

Young agency?

Brainless editor.

But then I repeat myself.

The Dutch police have takedown C&Cs now? (0, Offtopic)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year ago | (#40674597)

This may come across as pedantic, but I honestly thought that, since "takedown" is a noun, the Dutch police had takedown C&Cs that were being used by the Grum botnet (because that is what the damned headline says, so I think my confusion is understandable). "Take down", the verb, is two words, not one, and what you meant to use.

Yes, Slashdot, grammar does matter, when you try to use a noun as a verb (which it cannot be used as). And I can understand not editing the summary (who wants to do work, after all?) but the headline? Really?

A&A (Acronyms&Abbreviations) (2)

ArtuRock (932265) | about a year ago | (#40674615)

I had to look up "C&C" (for those who don't know, it stands for "Command and Control"). It's easy for me to blame the editors, submitter, etc, for necessitating this, but then again, it took just seconds to look it up. Still, it's a nuisance, and honestly in the end I think it's an art on the part of the editors/submitter to know whether or not explaining them is necessary. So, for what it's worth, as far as I'm concerned: FAILURE!

Re:A&A (Acronyms&Abbreviations) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40674681)

I was thinking "Command and Conquer" in my mind... blame the video game.

Re:A&A (Acronyms&Abbreviations) (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40676155)

And I thought they were talking about C & C Music Factory.

Re:A&A (Acronyms&Abbreviations) (2)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#40676547)

I had to look up "C&C"

You must be new here.

for those who don't know

I think you'll find that few don't. Now, if you're talking about a cop here, don't say LEO because to us nerds, that's Low Earth Orbit. As someone else pointed out, the "botnet" part gives it away. Would we have to spell out IBM, RAM, or DoS? This is a specialized site. We're nerds. We don't need to spell out C&C for a botnet any more than a law enforcement publication would feel the need to explain what an LEO is, even though it would confuse me; I'm not part of their target audience.

So, for what it's worth, as far as I'm concerned: FAILURE!

Well, you didn't fail completely, you did look it up and educate yourself.

Why not blackhole those datacenters? (4, Interesting)

swb (14022) | about a year ago | (#40674643)

I'm surprised there's not more voluntary cooperation among ISPs to blackhole unresponsive datacenters hosting botnet command infrasturcture.

Is the money for hosting that kind of stuff that good, or is it one of those semi-political things where those data centers are in a country like Russia where the difference between organized crime and the government depends on what time of day it is?

Re:Why not blackhole those datacenters? (1)

jpapon (1877296) | about a year ago | (#40675113)

It could also be that this is a net neutrality / common carrier type issue, or a contractual issue. Or they could just not give a damn, since they're making money. Spam doesn't really hurt them.

Re:Why not blackhole those datacenters? (2)

Zocalo (252965) | about a year ago | (#40675175)

Exactly. Why not name and shame in circumstances like this? It's not like it's going to do any harm, unless there's going law enforcement involvement in their near future. The big carriers might not take any action, but if enough smaller operators blackhole the provider in question then the impact on their operations, legit or otherwise, might be enough to encourage reconsideration.

Then again, it might not actually have much of an effect at all. I recall a similar "name and shame" exercise after a US CoLo provider who's name escapes me (HostNoc? DimeNoc?) got raided for hosting C&C servers. The CEO was denying any overt involvement, that they had no knowledge of the servers being there, and so. You'd expect a tightening up of security after that kind of PR debacle, right? Maybe set up some kind of IDS? Nope. Within a few months their IP space was just as filthy as ever and back into the null route list it went. It's still there, and since I've seen no traffic from them, well, there's no abuse to report and off the radar they go.

We're not winning, are we? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40674705)

I have a feeling that as long as the takedown of two servers, secondary servers even, is news, the herders are laughing.

Time to be an arse... (2)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#40674737)

The submitter's grammar 'does has' some weak spots.

Re:Time to be an arse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40674871)

At first I read the headline and thought the C&C's the dutch police used were taken over by a botnet.

Re:Time to be an arse... (2)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#40677451)

I can has chezeburger?

Don't blame the submitter too much. He might not be a native speaker (I'm sure I sound like an idiot when speaking Thai or Spanish). All your base are belong to us.

Blame the editor. Editors are supposed to be good at grammar, and I've had /. submissions completely rewritten on acceptance.

Attention, editors: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40674747)

"Takedown" is a noun; "take down" is a verb. This headline was hard to read.

I see a plan: (3, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#40674887)

1. Announce the C&C server IPs to the world.
2. Watch Anonymous DDoS them so hard the host will have to choice but to kick them to protect the rest of their datacenter.

And the best part is that the operators of the servers have no legal recourse at all, because that would mean revealing their identities.

Re:I see a plan: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40675009)

First of all, DDoS always hits innocent networks too. Second, they may not have legal recourse, but they can certainly set traps (put other people's IPs in the bot's code and wait until the vigilantes DDoS a perfectly innocent server).

Re:I see a plan: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40677105)

the best part is that the operators of the servers have no legal recourse at all, because that would mean revealing their identities.

Unless the server operators has ways of getting things done without revealing their identity.

What if they belong to a TLA or a cyber warfare program from a nation state.

Re:I see a plan: (1)

operagost (62405) | about a year ago | (#40677253)

Why would you expect Anonymous to shut down a botnet? What are they, some kind of do-gooders? They'd be more likely to take it over and use it to attack some US government site or international corporation.

Re:I see a plan: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40678977)

Your post advocates a

( ) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based (x) vigilante

approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
(x) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
(x) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
( ) Users of email will not put up with it
( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
(x) The police will not put up with it
(x) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
(x) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
(x) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

(x) Laws expressly prohibiting it
( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
( ) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
(x) Asshats
(x) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
(x) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
(x) Extreme profitability of spam
( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
( ) Technically illiterate politicians
( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
(x) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(x) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
(x) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) Sending email should be free
( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
( ) I don't want the government reading my email
(x) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

( ) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
(x) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!

unrespunonsive to fully documented abuse reports. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about a year ago | (#40675299)

How do they respond to cruise missiles? Or a squad of SEALS with sachel charges? Or even just blackholing of all their IPs?

Re:unrespunonsive to fully documented abuse report (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | about a year ago | (#40675441)

How do they respond to cruise missiles?

Send some stealth tanks to find the source of the missiles, follow up with APCs and Tick Tanks.

Or a squad of SEALS with sachel charges?

Flame tanks.

Or even just blackholing of all their IPs?

Chemical missile.

English 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#40675599)

If you go by the title, ("Dutch Police Takedown C&Cs Used By Grum Botnet") the Command and Control servers operated by the Dutch police for takedown purposes are being used by the "Grum" botnet.

To match the summary, it should be Dutch Police Take Down C&Cs Used By Grum Botnet. (The Dutch police have taken down the servers that the "Grum" botnet uses for command and control.)

One word: noun or adjective
Two words: verb

One space radically changes the meaning.

OMG they took down GrummelNet!? (1)

twilightzero (244291) | about a year ago | (#40676433)

Now where am I going to get my hyperdestructive upgradeable weaponry!? There are no Gadgetron offices in this galaxy and I really don't want to be stuck using MegaCorp's crap for self defense and taking down supervillains. Their household products are more dangerous than their pathetic weaponry! What am I supposed to protect myself with, a used B20 Crotchitizer?

The end of spam? (2)

SgtAaron (181674) | about a year ago | (#40678661)

From the article:

"In my opinion, taking down the top three spam botnets—Lethic, Cutwail, and Grum—is enough for a rapid and permanent decline in worldwide spam level," he said. "We still have to deal with small players, but I am sure that, after seeing the big players being knocked down, they will retreat as well."

Very optimistic! There's too many colo/virtual host sites out there that simply don't give a rat's ass that large swaths of their
bandwidth and IP space are being used by spammers. They're everywhere! And I've given up telling them. Even "legit" ISPs
like Integra have routinely ignored my notices in the past, so I've simply given up, I haven't the time or inclination to help any
more. They're using spammers to help pad their bottom line.

Reduced, sure, but go away? And another big botnet will appear again in the future, I have no doubt at all.

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