Russian Botnet Disrupted Before Weaponization
Table of Contents
- 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.