Tag Archive : botnet

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A building on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington in 2014.

A building on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington in 2014.
Photo: Stephen Brashear (Getty Images)

Microsoft has obtained a court order to seize servers the company says are part of the Trickbot botnet ahead of the 2020 elections, the Washington Post reported on Monday.

Microsoft vice president of customer security and trust Tom Burt told the Post the botnet poses a “theoretical but real” threat to election security, as it is known to be run by Russian-speaking criminals and could be used to launch ransomware attacks. Ransomware is a type of malware that hijacks computer networks, and typically holds the data hostage in exchange for some kind of payment—although attackers could just forego the ransom element and permanently lock users out of their own computers. While a ransomware attack on voting machines, election officials, or political campaigns would be unprecedented, gangs of cybercriminals have targeted municipal

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Run by Russian-speaking criminals, the botnet poses a “theoretical but real” threat to election integrity by launching ransomware attacks, in which data is rendered inaccessible unless the victim pays a ransom, said Tom Burt, Microsoft’s vice president of customer security and trust.

Botnets are networks of computers secretly infected by malware that can be controlled remotely. They can be used to spread ransomware, as well as to send malicious spam email to unsuspecting recipients. Trickbot is malware that can steal financial and personal data, and drop other malicious software, such as ransomware, onto infected systems.

The fear isn’t that an attack could alter actual results, but rather that it could shake the confidence of voters, especially those already on edge from President Trump’s unfounded assaults on the integrity of mail-in ballots. “Having just a few precincts report that they got disrupted and locked up and people couldn’t vote or their

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The effort is part of what Gen. Paul Nakasone, the head of Cyber Command, calls “persistent engagement,” or the imposition of cumulative costs on an adversary by keeping them constantly engaged. And that is a key feature of CyberCom’s activities to help protect the election against foreign threats, officials said.

“Right now, my top priority is for a safe, secure, and legitimate 2020 election,” Nakasone said in August in a set of written responses to Washington Post questions. “The Department of Defense, and Cyber Command specifically, are supporting a broader ‘whole-of-government’ approach to secure our elections.”

Trickbot is malware that can steal financial data and drop other malicious software onto infected systems. Cyber criminals have used it to install ransomware, a particularly nasty form of malware that encrypts users’ data and for which the criminals then demand payment — usually in cryptocurrency — to unlock.

Brian Krebs, who writes the

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