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Interpol coordinated to take down Simda botnet

The Simda botnet has been taken down on April 9 in a collaborative effort between international law enforcement bodies and private security and technology companies coordinated by Interpol's Global Complex for Innovation.
The Simda botnet has been taken down on April 9 in a collaborative effort between international law enforcement bodies and private security and technology companies coordinated by Interpol's Global Complex for Innovation.

The botnet, known for spreading banking malware and establishing backdoor for many malware, has exploited more than 770,000 computers in 190 countries. The take down has resulted in seizure of 14 command-and-control servers in the Netherlands, United States, Poland, Luxembourg, and Russia.

According to the researchers, Simda is a mysterious botnet used by cyber criminals for distributing several types of unwanted and malicious software. Due to constant functionality and security updates, it rarely appears on the KSN radars despite a large number of hosts every day.

It uses hardcoded IP addresses to notify the keeper about the various stages of execution. It can modify the system hosts file by downloading and running additional components from its own updated servers, and to point to malicious IP’s, it adds unexpected records for google-analytics.com and connect.facebook.net.

The Kaspersky Lab report says that, “This criminal business model opens up the possibility of exclusive malware distribution. This means that the distributors can guarantee that only the client’s malware is installed on infected machines. And that becomes the case when Simda interprets a response from the C&C server – it can deactivate itself by preventing the bot to start after next reboot, instantly exiting. This deactivation coincides with the modification of the system hosts file. As a farewell touch, Simda replaces the original hosts file with a new one from its own body.”

To analyse the spread of the infection the Digital Crime Centre (IDCC) in Singapore worked with Microsoft, Trend Micro, Kaspersky Lab, and Japan's Cyber Defense. The researcher team also involved officers from the Dutch National High Tech Crime Unit in the Netherlands, the Police Grand-Ducale Section Nouvelles Technologies in Luxembourg, the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US, and the Russian Ministry of the Interior's Cybercrime Department "K".

Sanjay Virmani, Director of the INTERPOL Digital Crime Centre, said “This successful operation highlights the value of, and need for partnerships involving national and international law enforcement and private industry in the fight against the global threat of cyber crime. The operation has dealt a crippling blow to the Simda botnet. INTERPOL will continue its work to assist member countries in protecting their citizens from cybercriminals and to identify other emerging threats.”
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