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A botnet is a distributed network consisting of many compromised internet-connected devices, which are controlled by a centralized botmaster, and are utilized to perform synchronized tasks. Each infected machine is called a bot, and together their power is used to carry out various attacks. Botnets are usually created via malware infections, which gain persistence on the machines and “recruit” them to the botnet. Some of these malware variants can even self-propagate through networks, infecting many devices via one network entry point. The bandwidth amount “taken” from each bot is relatively small, so that the victim will not realize that their device is being exploited, but when thousands or even millions of machines are simultaneously instructed to perform a joint, targeted attack, the damage can be immense.

Although we are used to thinking of botnets as a collection of computers, these networks can be comprised of various types of devices – personal computers, laptops, mobile devices, smart watches, security cameras, and smart house appliances.

Our Security Research Team has created a timeline of the  most famous, dangerous and costly botnets of the century. Download the timeline here, or check it out at the bottom of this post.
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New and Improved Botnet Feeds

ThreatSTOP has improved our botnet block list by adding a number of C&C servers and DNS servers for botnets that have been taken down by law enforcement. This includes the conficker C&C sinkhole servers (see http://www.confickerworkinggroup.org/wiki/ ) and the IP addresses that the DNS Changer botnet used as DNS servers when redirecting DNS on infected computers (see http://dcwg.org ). These have been added to both the botnets feed and to respective expert mode feeds - sinkhole and DNS changer. We have added these feeds as a service to our subscribers to help them identify computers on their networks that are still infected by these forms of malware as by blocking these addresses on the NAT device makes it easy to identify the infected internal host from its IP address. The "research" popup for a DNS Changer IP address looks like this:

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ThreatSTOP blocking possible Conficker variant

Over the last couple of days we've seen an increasing number of outbound DNS queries to ip addresses on our block lists - principally to ones on the DShield 4000. Since the destination servers are frequently in China and the subscribers have little to do with China this looks unlikely to be genuine traffic. It is however somewhat suggestive of Conficker and other similar fastflux DNS malware which "call home" via a DNS lookup to some randomly generated subdomain of an otherwise apparently genuine domain. The DNS lookup resolves (usually) to a fastflux intermediary that communicates with the botmaster, The DNS server itself is generally not 'bad' per se but it will be under the control of the cyber crooks because they have to feed it the zone changes so frequently and this level of activity would raise a flag in any legitimate DNS hosting service.

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