How to Avoid the New BOTNET Herders

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Theresa Payton

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There’s a new game in town offering jobs to anyone with a home office and a computer.   Be careful what you or your kids accept when applying for jobs online.  You or your kids may be accepting a job working for a cybercriminal outfit.

Cybercriminals are posting help wanted ads on the internet and they are hiring people to help them infect computers across the Carolinas and even across the globe.

The going rate?  $180 for every 1,000 PCs infected.

Link to TV segment:  http://www.wbtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=11980960

YOU NEED TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR KIDS FROM THIS SCAM:

Some of the ads are obvious and you know you are infecting computers.  Some, are not so obvious and may sound more like you are working for a marketing company.  Kids looking to earn money over spring break and summer months could fall into a trap and they may not realize they are doing something wrong.

HOW TO SPOT THE ADS:

In the more obvious ads, Cybercriminals are hiring individuals willing to infect people’s computers with malicious software. In the less obvious, the ads may look like you are doing marketing and you just need to get the message out through emails and web pages.

The job duties may include:

-Send spam or socially engineered emails
  Include a link to malicious software.
-Job performance is determined by how many PCs they can infect.
-PCs in the UK and the US are considered the target group.
-They will even pay your wages to you via services such as PayPal and Western Union.
-Once the PC is infected, the cybercriminals can come in after that and do what they want.

They may provide you with:

-A kit or directs you to places where you can buy a kit to create your web page or emails.
-Instructions on how to hide their software behind the link.


HOW TO AVOID THE SCAM:

One way to avoid this scam is to check in with your Better Business Bureau.

Remind your kids not to apply for jobs online without discussing it with you first.

Follow the rule:  If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

TERM FOR THE WEEK:  Botnet Herder

A botnet herder is a person that has installed software on thousands of machines and has them in their control.  They may use the herd of machines, which they call zombies, for attacks on other machines.  

Like to create mail sent to people in your address book that looks like it is from you, or to steal your information.  Botnet herders will also rent out their herd to cybercriminals to use.

SIGNS THAT YOUR PC MAY BE INFECTED:

-Computer programs taking longer than usual to load.
-Computer locks up or reboots itself.
-Odd error messages.
-Peripheral devices such as printers and scanners are not recognized.
-Lots of internal noise such as disk writing or beeping or clicking.
-Computer seems to be running tasks even when you have no programs open.
-Files corrupted or missing.
-Friends call or email to tell you they are getting a lot of strange email traffic from your account.
-Your antivirus software runs too quickly or not at all.

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR COMPUTER HAS THESE SYMPTOMS:

If your computer has any of these symptoms, run your Antivirus software.  If it continues, contact your antivirus software provider and the company that services your machine for professional assistance.

HOW TO SPOT THESE JOB SITES:

Where are some of these criminal jobsites?  Many of them change their names to avoid detection.  The key is to check site history on your computer and look up any companies your kids may be visiting online.

The more obvious sites describe “Pay Per Install” as part of their payment model on their website.

Two of the more recent sites that you want to check for and block are:

Pay-Per-Install.org
earning4u.com. (formerly known as InstallsCash)


WHAT TO DO IF YOU SPOT ONE OF THESE COMPANIES:

If you think you have received an email solicitation, you can report it to at least two places:

The Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Center at www.ic3.gov.


If you believe you or your kid was duped and that you might be working for a Botnet herder, please contact your Local Law Enforcement immediately and send information to the FBI Internet Crime Center listed above.

Possibly Related Articles:
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Post Rating I Like this!
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Fred Williams If your kid has downloaded and installed a phishing kit, most likely that computer is also a bot in the army
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Theresa Payton Fred, great point! Thanks for your post. Have a great day!
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