Russian Botnet Disrupted Before Weaponization

  • By Patrick Ryan
  • Apr 07, 2022

The United States has successfully thwarted a Russian botnet before it could cause widespread havoc.  The news was revealed during a press conference on Wednesday.

Which Hacking Group is Behind the Botnet?

The botnet was created by Sandworm. Sandworm is a hacking wing of the GRU intelligence group based in Russia.  

How Did the United States Disrupt the Threat?

According to United States Attorney General Merrick Garland, American intelligence worked in unison with international partners to identify the infection of hardware devices. Upwards of several thousands of such devices connected to networks were detected. The digital intelligence specialists then disabled the GRU control of the devices prior to the weaponization of the botnet.

The announcement made by Garland has added importance as it was made merely one day after authorities in Germany defeated the Hydra dark web market. Hydra is an illegal marketplace operated by Russian-speaking digital miscreants. Hydra was taken down with the assistance of United States agencies, including the Justice Department.

Why are Botnets a Problem?

Botnets are a major issue in the context of digital security as they infect web-connected devices with the overarching aim of transmitting malware or causing other disruptions. Russian hackers have used such botnets in attacks for several years.

What is Sandworm all About?

Sandworm has performed several cyber-attacks across the globe. Though digital forensics specialists have not always been able to prove that Sandworm was behind the attacks, the hacking group has been blamed for a series of newsworthy digital attacks in recent years. In particular, Sandworm has been blamed for taking down Ukraine’s electrical grid.

The Sandworm botnet thwarted by the United States relied on a Cyclops Blink code that caught the attention of government agencies in the United States and the United Kingdom in late February. The botnet first zeroed in on WatchGuard Firebox hardware typically used by businesses that are medium and small in size.  

It is interesting to note that the defeat of Cyclops Blink required authorization from a court. The result was the removal of harmful malware from several thousands of devices. The agencies then prevented the Russian hackers from re-entering the digital door initially used for access.

Did the United States Receive Additional Assistance?

The United States government also relied on the expertise of WatchGuard digital security gurus based in Seattle, Washington, to thwart the Russian botnet. WatchGuard’s team helped develop tools for detecting threats along with remediation strategies. ASUS computer specialists were also credited for lending assistance to the United States government in the effort to eliminate the botnet.

Was Information Collected from Affected Parties?

No. The Justice Department stated that the United States government did not gather or search for any data from the networks victimized in the initial wave of the attack. The botnet defeat did not include any exchange of information between the FBI and the bot devices.

What Should Affected Parties Do Now?

Though the botnet was defeated, those affected by the initial wave of the attack should adhere to the directions provided by WatchGuard in terms of updating their hardware. Like most people, you are justifiably concerned about your digital security.  Click here to find out more about solutions that will help secure your computer and network.

About the Author
IDStrong Logo

Related Articles

Instagram Vulnerability Allowed Hackers Access to Control Your Phone

Security experts Check Point Research discovered a critical vulnerability while examining Instagra ... Read More

Alien Malware Infects More than 226 Mobile Apps and Steals Bank Data

As reported on September 24, 2020, by ZDNet and ThreatPost, a new strain of malware named “Alien ... Read More

Universal Health Systems Hit by Ransomware Attack

Universal Health Systems (UHS), a Fortune 500 company owning more than 400 hospitals across the co ... Read More

Exchange Server Bug Exposes a Big Risk to Hackers

Months after Microsoft released a patch to fix a serious flaw in MS Exchange Server, more than 61% ... Read More

Clients’ Bank Data Exposed in Blackbaud Ransomware Attack

Blackbaud software was victim to a ransomware attack last May, and new information suggests that c ... Read More

Latest Articles

Flagstar Bank Breach Impacts More Than a Million Customers

Flagstar Bank Breach Impacts More Than a Million Customers

Flagstar Bank is in the news for the wrong reason. The bank recently publicized the fact that it discovered a digital breach.

Weekly Recap June 24 2022

Weekly Recap June 24 2022

We are nearly halfway through 2022. News stories detailing hacks and other digital breaches continue to roll in on a daily basis.

Cybercrime Related to Travel Soars at the Year’s Halfway Point

Cybercrime Related to Travel Soars at the Year’s Halfway Point

There has been a significant spike in tourism following the gradual decline of the coronavirus pandemic.  The increase in travel has caught the attention of digital miscreants looking to scam tourists as well as travel services providers.

Featured Articles

How to Buy a House with Bad Credit

How to Buy a House with Bad Credit

Buying your own home is the American Dream, but it might seem out of reach to those with bad credit. However, the good news is, if your credit is less than perfect, you do still have options and in most cases, can still buy a home.

How Secure Is Your Password? Tips to Improve Your Password Security

How Secure Is Your Password? Tips to Improve Your Password Security

Any good IT article on computers and network security will address the importance of strong, secure passwords. However, the challenge of good passwords is that most people have a hard time remembering them, so they use simple or obvious ones that pose a security risk.

Top 10 Senior Scams and How to Prevent Them

Top 10 Senior Scams and How to Prevent Them

Senior scams are becoming a major epidemic for two reasons. First, seniors often have a lot of money in the bank from a life of working hard and saving.