Group used 30,000-node botnet in MasterCard, PayPal attacks
IDG News Service - PayPal's website was hit late Wednesday by two botnets as online activists continued their Web attacks on companies that have severed their relationships with WikiLeaks.
The activists have recruited volunteers, who have banded their computers into a distributed denial of service (DDoS) botnet, but they are also using hacked machines to carry out these attacks, said Sean-Paul Correll of threat researcher Panda Security. "Today we observed over 3,000 computers in the voluntary botnet, but we also have knowledge of a 30k node botnet," he said.
This botnet infects computers via peer to peer filesharing systems, but it can spread via Microsoft Messenger and USB sticks as well, he said. Panda is trying to get a sample of the botnet code to analyze.
PayPal was hit late Wednesday afternoon, Pacific time, and the Paypal.com address was unresponsive into early Thursday morning. "There have been attempted DDoS attacks on paypal.com this week," said company spokesman Anuj Nayar. "The attacks slowed the website itself down for a short while, but did not significantly impact payments."
PayPal's blog had been hit earlier in the week, but the main Paypal.com website was down for at least several hours Wednesday, and www.paypal.com was affected too, although less seriously. Unlike Visa and MasterCard, the website is critical to PayPal's business. Customers need the website to send money to other PayPal users.
Paypal wasn't the only company to have some payments affected, however. MasterCard's SecureCode service -- used to add a security code for use in online transactions, similar to a PIN (personal identification number), also suffered a disruption Wednesday, said MasterCard spokesman James Issokson. "There were some operational issues and they have been resolved," he said.
Representatives of the Anonymous group's Operation Payback said that they were responsible for this disruption. They believe that MasterCard's Web servers may have shared resources with the SecureCode system. In a MasterCard advisory,published on the Securetrading blog, MasterCard said that a directory server had failed.
Both MasterCard and Visa also had their public websites knocked offline by a "hive" of as many as 3,000 activists who had downloaded Web-attacking software, which was then turned on different websites.
For several months now, Operation Payback has gone after websites belonging to organizations that have cracked down on unlicensed music and movie copying -- the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). This week, the project took up cyber arms against companies that have cut business ties with WikiLeaks, making it harder for the website to raise money and continue operations. They have also hit websites belonging to WikiLeaks critics such as U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
- US agencies to release cyberthreat info faster to healthcare industry
- UPS now the third company in a week to disclose data breach
- Healthcare organizations still too lax on security
- Why would Chinese hackers want US hospital patient data?
- About 4.5M face risk of ID theft after hospital network hacked
- Supervalu breach shows why move to smartcards is long overdue
- Grocery stores in multiple states hit by data breach
- Update: Payment cards with chips aren't perfect, so encrypt everything, experts say
- U.S. agencies halt background checks by contractor after cyberattack
- Five unanswered questions about massive Russian hacker database
- Capabilities You Need in an IP Address Management Solution A mismanaged IP space can cripple an otherwise healthy network. Take a moment to understand what you need in an enterprise-ready IPAM solution.
- IPv6 Fundamentals IPv6 is needed to sustain the growth of the Internet. The transition from IPv4 will require planning and likely some degree of support...
- 3G/4G Digital Signage Guide Today, the widespread availability of 3G and 4G cellular or wireless broadband networks enables digital signage to be deployed virtually anywhere.
- Enterprises in Motion: In-Vehicle Networks In a world where traditional tethers to the central office have all but vanished, enterprises that operate vehicle fleets require constant and dependable...
- API Management: The Key to Improving the Consumer Travel Experience Join PhoCusWright's Senior Technology Analyst, Norm Rose, as he shares his insights on how travel suppliers and intermediaries can improve industry data flow...
- Tips to Simplify Database Administration and Development Make your job easier while getting the most from the leading productivity tool for database professionals. Learn tips from Dell Software's Oracle® ACE,... All Internet White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!