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Botnet Activity Goes Down; Revived Emotet Suffers Hindrances in Operations by A Vigilante Hacker

An unknown protuder is sabotaging the Emotet botnet by replacing malware payloads with GIFs.

An anonymous vigilante hacker has been actively involved in obstructing 2019's most widespread cybercrime operation, Emotet that made a comeback recently. He has been sabotaging the malicious affairs and protecting users from getting affected by removing Emotet payloads and inserting animated GIFs at their places. Acting as an intruder, he replaced Emotet payloads with animated GIFs on certain hacked WordPress sites, meaning when victims would open the infected Office files, the malware would not be downloaded and executed on their computers, saving them from the infection.

Emotet is a banking Trojan that was first spotted in the year 2014 by security researchers, it was primarily designed to sneak onto the victim's computer and mine sensitive data. Later, the banking malware was updated; newer versions came up with spamming and malware delivery functionality. Emotet is equipped with capabilities to escape anti-malware detection, it uses worm-like abilities that help it proliferate through connected systems. Mainly, the infection is spread via malspam, however, it may also be sent through malicious scripts, links, or macro-enabled documents.

Started off casually a few days ago, on the 21st of July, the act of sabotaging the operations has become a major concern for the Emotet authors, affecting a significant fragment of the malware botnet’s revived campaign. Essentially, the sabotage has been possible owing to the fact that Emotet authors are not employing the best web shells in the market, it was noted earlier in 2019 also that the criminals involved in Emotet operations were using open-source scripts and identical password for all the web shells, risking the security of its infrastructure and making it vulnerable to hijacks just by a simple guess of password.

While giving insights on the matter, Kevin Beaumont said in 2019, “The Emotet payload distribution method is super insecure, they deploy an open-source webshell off Github into the WordPress sites they hack, all with the same password, so anybody can change the payloads infected PCs are receiving.
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