The Microsoft Tax: ‘Indestructible’ botnet attacks millions of Windows PCs; Macintosh unaffected

“More than four million PCs have been enrolled in a botnet security experts say is almost ‘indestructible,'” BBC News reports.

“The botnet, known as TDL, targets Windows PCs and is difficult to detect and shut down,” The Beeb reports. “Code that hijacks a PC hides in places security software rarely looks and the botnet is controlled using custom-made encryption.”

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“Security researchers said recent botnet shutdowns had made TDL’s controllers harden it against investigation,” The Beeb reports. “The 4.5 million PCs have become victims over the last three months following the appearance of the fourth version of the TDL virus. The changes introduced in TDL-4 made it the ‘most sophisticated threat today,’ wrote Kaspersky Labs security researchers Sergey Golovanov and Igor Soumenkov in a detailed analysis of the virus.”

The Beeb reports, “A botnet is a network of computers that have been infected by a virus that allows a hi-tech criminal to use them remotely. Often botnet controllers steal data from victims’ [WIndows] PCs or use the machines to send out spam or carry out other attacks. The TDL virus spreads via booby-trapped websites and infects a machine by exploiting unpatched vulnerabilities.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Tony” for the heads up.]

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  1. Malware sucks and I feel for anyone who has to deal with it.

    That is the one thing I have really enjoyed about my mac, I don’t run anti virus or anti spyware software on it.

    My mac lives among a bunch of PCs and has proven over time to really be the most trouble free computer I have owned.

    I’m not sure why these guys are claiming TDL4 is nearly indestructible, its a rootkit that starts up by way of a bootkit, which makes it harder to detect, but removal can be done with utilities already on any Windows PC. Multiple vendors have also released removal tools.

    After playing with an older release of TDL I can say its an impressive piece of work… from a purely ‘educational’ and technical standpoint. I feel sorry for anyone infected with the POS.

      1. Indeed it does. The removal is easy, its the detection that is tricky, the payload once in memory manipulates api calls to the filesystem making it hard to find.

  2. Look, I know that the Mac is not infallible. I know that one day, in the far distant future, we may have to deal with this crap. Having owned macs in my house for the last seven years and providing the IT support for Windows at work, I can tell you that I loath these pimp-faced dorks, who have probably never even seen a girl, develop these damn programs. If you have ever spent your day trying to fix a computer because Sally didn’t know she wasn’t supposed to open email from strangers, then you know what I am talking about.

    China I believe, has instituted a new law – write a virus & get caught – we string you up by your nuts. Oh wait, that’s what I wish would happen.

    Viruses, Trojans, Mal-Ware, Windows – every last developer of these – Let them swing in the wind!

  3. Malware, virus (sophisticated or not), trojans, etc. on a Windows computer? Is that news? I thought that was just common knowledge at this point. . . 😛

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