US authorities have brought down a Russian botnet network before it could wreak havoc. Authorities revealed that the Russian botnet affected the network hardware of Asus and WatchGuard Technologies. However, the botnet is incapable of causing any damage.
More about the Russian Botnet
FBI intercepted and brought down the Russian-operated botnet “Cyclops Blink”. It had ties to the “Sandworm” which is a hacking group backed by the Russian government. The group used Cyclops Blink to build a bot army of network devices. This Russian hacking group is one of the strongest organized hacking organizations in the world. FBI disrupted the network because it was an imminent threat to the privacy and security of the citizens.
FBI sought court orders, after which it launched an attack to hack command and control servers. It was successful in hacking and removing the malware from C2 servers. C2 servers are command and control servers that hackers use to control the Russian Botnet network. If someone cripples the C2 server, they can effectively cut the control to the bot network. This is exactly what the FBI did to release the devices from the clutches of the Sandworm.
The malware still exists on these network devices. Their manufacturers will have to roll out security patches to tackle them. But Sandworm cannot access them due to the intervention hack done by the FBI. Thus, it disabled the Russian Botnet network effectively.
FBI’s take on this counterattack
Assistant Director Bryan Vorndran of the FBI’s Cyber Division said, “This operation is an example of the FBI’s commitment to combatting cyber threats through our unique authorities, capabilities, and coordination with our partners.”
He further added, “As the lead domestic law enforcement and intelligence agency, we will continue pursuing cyber actors that threaten the national security and public safety of the American people, our private sector partners, and our international partners.”
Similarly, another Darknet marketplace run by a Russian national is no more. The US targeted the darknet marketplace Hydra, which was a key player in dealing and distribution of drugs. 534 Bitcoins with a current market value of $24 million were recovered by the team.
As per Attorney General Merrick Garland, these harsh steps are crucial to knocking sense into Russia. The Russian government is adamant about invading Ukraine, which is a brazen and inhumane move.