Thursday, October 08, 2009

Exposing Bad Actor Sites That Support Cyber Crime

Alex Lanstein of FireEye writes on ComputerWorld:

Today, cyber criminals who operate the most sophisticated stealth malware and botnets rely on a remarkably small number of network and hosting service providers, known to the industry as bad actors. These bad actors supply the infrastructure needed to host drive-by download exploits, command-and-control servers, stolen data drop sites, and other more functional network needs such as DNS and reliable uplinks. Having a stable, controllable network allows malware operators to remove one difficult piece of the puzzle and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are lining up to take their money. Even given that these networks are very well known, it has proven difficult -- in some cases impossible -- to stop cyber criminals and these bad actors due to legal, economic and technical hurdles.

The cyber crime spree that is underway is supported by bad actors that turn a blind eye to the questionable and criminal activities transpiring over their networks. Research from FireEye and others have exposed notorious examples like McColo, ZlKon, HostFresh and many more. The Federal Trade Commission scored a rare victory when it took down 3fn based on findings that 3fn, "recruits, knowingly hosts, and actively participates in the distribution of spam, child pornography, and other harmful electronic content."

However, these bad actors are difficult to bring to justice due to the international nature of their crimes, the slow response time with which they react to shutdowns and the general lack of funding and focus for cyber law enforcement.

More here.


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