Google announced Tuesday, December 7, to fight against an online crime network, comprising about a million pirated electronic devices, and to have launched a lawsuit against the Russian hackers that the Californian group holds responsible.
Called Glupteba, the network of infected devices – or “Botnet” – which was also used to mine bitcoins, has been made inaccessible to people who manipulated it, at least for now.
“Glupteba operators will certainly try to regain control over the botnet through safeguards and control mechanisms”, however, note Shane Huntley and Luca Nagy, of Google’s threat analysis group, in a statement.
Tech giants like Google and Microsoft are heavily invested in the fight against cybercrime through their products and services, which gives them a unique understanding of loopholes and consequences.
According to Google, the malicious network includes approximately one million devices running the Windows operating system worldwide, and has been used in various crimes, including the theft of user credentials and victims in the United States, India, in Brazil and Southeast Asia.
The company filed a lawsuit in New York federal court against Dmitry Starovikov and Alexander Filippov. She asks the judge to block them on her platforms.
Experts in cybersecurity had alerted to the existence of Glupteba in 2011. It pretended to be free software or videos to download.
But unlike conventional botnets which only survive on predetermined systems, Glupteba is programmed to find an alternate server if detected, to keep running, according to Google’s complaint.
Due to its immense size, this network is likely to be used for large-scale ransomware attacks. To keep their grip on such a large number of devices, hackers “Use advertisements on Google for job offers for websites” who carry out illegal activities.
They also used Google services to distribute the malware – the US group removed some 63 million documents hosted on Google Docs and terminated more than 1,100 Google profiles created to spread Glupteba.