PORTLAND, Ore., Feb. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In January 2013, IPCopper researchers took an in-depth look into the behavior and vulnerabilities of computers infected by trojans and malware (collectively botnets). They identified that many botnet masters use their stables of enslaved computers for the simple purpose of generating fraudulent "clicks" on online advertisements. The crux of the research was to find out whether by running an online ad campaign one could easily target and access these infected and compromised computers and the extent to which these computers were vulnerable to takeover by a new infection(s), for example, to change their behavior from "clicking" on online ads to something more sinister, such as theft of documents, access to bank accounts and various forms of identity theft and cyber-espionage.
Utilizing a purpose-built system and packet capture appliances, the researchers were able to uncloak the behavior of the botnets. They reached several conclusions:
- While generating "clicks" the botnet-infected computers are extremely vulnerable to content downloaded by the malware, including executables and dynamic content.
- The infections can be separated into three distinct categories, based on their behavior and ability to hide. The most sophisticated had the ability to use the victim's machine as a gateway, i.e. the botnet masters could hide their locations by funneling traffic through computers located in the US. Half of the infected machines in this category had their webcams enabled, giving the hackers a way to conduct video surveillance.
- The infected computers were detected in homes, small and large businesses, schools and universities, corporations, hospitals and medical offices and government agencies at all levels across the US.
Many computer owners appeared unaware of the presence of the malware, however, all types of malware render computers extremely susceptible to new infections. For businesses with botnet-infected computers, the danger is very real, as every infected computer on a network is a beachhead from which hackers can penetrate further.
The full report is available in pdf. Please connect to http://www.ipcopper.com/marketing_cybercrime.htm for more information.
About IPCopper: IPCopper, Inc. manufactures off-the-shelf and custom solutions for network forensics, security monitoring and encrypted data storage. Its line of standalone packet capture appliances leads the market in performance, capacity and price. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, IPCopper, Inc. designs and manufactures its products in the USA.
SOURCE IPCopper, Inc.