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July 14, 2014

Authorities Put an End to 'Leceptex' Botnet

Right now all of the talk in Greece is centered on the shutdown of its public sector. But another shutdown quietly made headlines last week when police made two arrests in connection with Facebook’s “Leceptex” spamming botnet, which hacked and mined computers in order to obtain login information for the virtual currency website Litecoin.    

The Leceptex botnet, which included at least 20 different spam operations between December 2013 and June 2014, affected almost 50,000 Facebook user accounts and about 250,000 computers around the world. According to Facebook’s Threat Infrastructure Team, the countries that were hit the hardest from the attacks included the U.S., Greece, Portugal, Norway, Poland and India. The botnet was deployed using .zip attachments with Java JAR files and Visual Basic Script, a lightweight coding language used in many different Microsoft systems.

A botnet is a network of hacked computers that are controlled from a remote location. It is commonly referred to as a zombie network due to the fact that end users are often unaware that malicious software is either in use on their operating system or waiting to be set off. Botnets could have hundreds of thousands of connected computers at a single time.

As in typical botnet fashion, once Facebook users extracted the .zip files and executed the Leceptex malware, additional remote sources were then activated which attempted to obtain end user login information for Litecoin. By regularly updating its attachment files and automatically updating itself, Leceptex was able to steer clear of Facebook’s antivirus software. After attempts to stop Leceptex using its proprietary security software proved futile, Facebook contacted law enforcement officials who eventually made two arrests on July 3.

So, how do you avoid contracting malware that could attach your devices to a botnet like Leceptex? Make sure your software is equipped with the latest security features and stay away from websites that could store malicious software. And always inspect your email attachments before downloading software onto your network. Spammers will attempt to target unprotected computers that they can gain easy entry into.

Click here for more information about how Apex managed IT services in Norwalk, CT can help keep your network safe from malware at all times. 

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