A recently reworded post on Microsoft’s attempt to pursue malware distribution in the courts makes it appear that something permanent and substantial has happened in anti-malware efforts (demonstrated by a legal and collaborative effort called “Operation b49″ to takedown Waledac C&C domains). Because of the complications (legal and otherwise) delaying server and domain takedowns, it’s great to see this botnet’s well-known command and control server domains pursued by the powerful legal team. On the other hand, in the meantime, users’ systems continue to be infected with Waledac. And much like the FakeAv organizations and the “John Doe” defendants that Microsoft has filed against in the courts in the past, cybercriminals herding Waledac most likely will pick up and continue to operate in the shadows beyond the reach of law enforcement — the domains and malware most likely will change to evade the takedowns pushed by their court approach. It’s a situation that has been described as “wrestling with a pig”.
In the meantime, the best way to protect yourself is with the latest install of ThreatFire. From our statistics in the ThreatFire community, we see that Waledac binaries continue to attack systems on a daily basis as a bump on the “threat landscape”. The ISC’s post title mistakenly implies that Waledac is not infecting system’s on a daily basis because the group’s “Storm-like” spam campaigns of 2009 have discontinued and because a specific list of domains have been removed, but in fact, Waledac binaries like these are attacking systems on a daily basis. For instance, over the past few days, workstations in the ThreatFire community were attacked by and protected from Waledac in the US and parts of Europe.
Anyways, the ISC handler’s post was an interesting writeup and description of past problems in takedowns (current collateral damage described here), and “Operation b49” adds another strong effort and collaboration to clean up the wild wild web. Cheers to that. Let’s hope that the Waledac bot distributors and botnet operators are worn down with the new strategy while watching their C&C servers becoming unreachable. We’ll monitor the bot’s distribution over the next few weeks and post results. Hopefully, the group is worn down for good.