IDG News Service - Security researchers have spotted the Zeus botnet running an unauthorized command and control center on Amazon's EC2 cloud computing infrastructure.
This marks the first time Amazon Web Services' cloud infrastructure has been used for this type of illegal activity, according to Don DeBolt, director of threat research with HCL Technologies, a contractor that does security research for CA. The hackers didn't do this with Amazon's permission, however. They got onto Amazon's infrastructure by first hacking into a Web site that was hosted on Amazon's servers and then secretly installing their command and control infrastructure.
DeBolt declined to say whose Web site was hacked to get onto Amazon's cloud, but the Zeus software has now been removed, he said. Zeus is a password-stealing botnet. Variants of this malware have been linked to more than US$100 million in bank fraud in the past year.
He thinks the hackers may have just stumbled on a Web site with a security vulnerability -- they may have hacked the site's software or simply stolen an administrative password from a desktop computer to get on the site. "I think it's more a target of opportunity than a target of choice," he said.
In the past few years, law enforcement takedowns and bad publicity have made it harder for many criminals to host their back-end infrastructure in legitimate or even semi-legitimate data centers, so they have moved to Web based services. Although this didn't happen in this case, law enforcement officials worry that criminals might start using stolen credit cards to purchase cloud-based computing services from companies such as Amazon.
In August, security vendor Arbor Networks spotted a botnet that used Twitter to issue commands to hacked computers. Security experts say that criminals will probably seek out new Web services to use in 2010.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- Mobile Policy Checklist Here's what to consider when putting together a mobile policy designed to support a highly productive workforce.
- Securing BYOD Mobile computing is becoming so ubiquitous that people no longer bat an eye seeing someone working two devices simultaneously. Individuals and organizations are...
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Endpoint Backup & Restore: Protect Everyone, Everywhere Arek Sokol from the bleeding-edge IT team at Genentech/Roche explains how he leverages cross-platform enterprise endpoint backup in the public cloud as part...
- Streamline Software Asset Management, Compose a software Management Symphony Keeping track of your organization's software is easy with effective software management solutions from CDW. View the videos in our software solutions channel
- Druva inSync: Endpoint Data Protection & Governance CLICK HERE to watch this video about protecting corporate data on laptops and mobile devices, sponsored by Druva. All Security White Papers | Webcasts