Doubts about Citadel botnet takedown: PR over-spun?

Operation b54 is GO!

Citadel takedown

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and international police forces have disrupted more than a thousand botnets, created by the Citadel malware toolkit.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers have their doubts.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

Jim Finkle reports:

Microsoft said it...took down at least 1,000 of an estimated 1,400...Citadel Botnets [which] infected as many as 5 million PCs around the world and...was used to steal from dozens of financial institutions.


While the criminals remain at large...the internationally coordinated take-down dealt a significant blow to their cyber capabilities. ...the ringleader...goes by the alias Aquabox...suspect[ed to] live in eastern Europe and works with at least 81 "herders."  MORE

And Aunty adds:

The Citadel network had remotely installed a keylogging program on about five million machines to steal data. ... Co-ordinated action in 80 countries...helped to disrupt the network.


Citadel emerged after...a widely used cybercrime kit, called Zeus, was released online.  MORE

Microsoft's Richard Domingues Boscovich puffs out his chest:

This collaborative action – codenamed Operation b54 – is Microsoft’s seventh...part of a growing proactive effort by both the public and private sector to fight cybercrime. ...the first time that law enforcement and the private sector have worked together in this way to execute a civil seizure warrant.


Operation b54 serves as a real world example of how public-private cooperation can work effectively within the judicial system. ... I look forward to similar cooperative efforts in the future as we continue our goal to fundamentally disrupt the cybercriminal ecosystem.  MORE

But your humble blogwatcher offers this contrarian opinion:

These efforts result in some great PR for Microsoft and others, but do they result in a reduction in crime? Well they certainly cause it to reduce temporarily, but bot herders and other criminals have reacted by upping their game.  

Sadly, nuking botnets, while undeniably satisfying, is like playing Whac-A-Mole®. The moles don’t die, they just pop up again and again; and with increasing speed.  MORE

Meanwhile, Infrasound mixes up his colorful metaphors:

It took less than two weeks for a privately held entity (read company) to engage the FBI and obtain multinational cooperation on a law enforcement issue.  

I call uncle on this. Law enforcement is NEVER this quick, even when Reddit gets involved.  MORE

Computerworld Blogs Newsletter

Subscribe now to the Blogs Newsletter for a daily summary of the most recent and relevant blog posts at Computerworld.  

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon