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FBI's Bot Roast II Sees Great Success 129

Posted by Zonk
from the electric-bugaloo dept.
coondoggie passed us another Network World link, this one discussing the FBI's newest offensive against botnets. They're calling it Operation Bot Roast II. Apparently it's already been quite successful, leading to indictments, search warrants, and the uncovering of some '$20 million in economic loss. writes "Today, botnets are the weapon of choice of cyber criminals. They seek to conceal their criminal activities by using third party computers as vehicles for their crimes. In Bot Roast II, we see the diverse and complex nature of crimes that are being committed through the use of botnets," said FBI Director Robert S. Mueller. "Despite this enormous challenge, we will continue to be aggressive in finding those responsible for attempting to exploit unknowing Internet users." I can't help but think, though: how many more of these things are out there that this 'sting' didn't touch?
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FBI's Bot Roast II Sees Great Success

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:05PM (#21522911)

    $20 million in economic loss
    So they stopped about a days worth of profit?
    • According to journalist Xavier La Canna [news.com.au] the group being investigated caused a DDoS attack at a Philadelphia university in February 2006 in which computer access was denied to about 4000 university students and staff.

      Sometimes the inconvenience is more than just the monetary loss.

      Imagine you were a uni student awaiting your examination results, or a researcher who couldn't get vital information to perform an experiment.
  • I can't help but think, though: how many more of these things are out there that this 'sting' didn't touch?

    How much bigger is the Sun than Earth?
    • I'm sure there's plenty more out there, but at least they're trying...

      It's like the so-called 'war' on drugs, it is unfortunately very hard to align the same financial - and therefore physical - resources as the bad guys.

      Also as per the war on drugs, the bad guys also include people in governments - but think Russia and China rather than Colombia & Afghanistan...
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by plague3106 (71849)
        Unlike botnets though, problems associated with drugs would dry up if they simply removed laws banning said drugs.
        • or put said money into rehabilitation of addicts instead of wasting it on military action.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by PitaBred (632671)
          Yeah, I mean, what's wrong with a little 'roid rage? Someone wacked out on PCP feeling no pain deciding to go on a rampage, people OD'ing because of ready access to heroin, cocaine, whatever.

          I'm for a little deregulation of things like pot that aren't that addictive or dangerous, but a completely uncontrolled drug system would be at least as bad or worse for our country than the drug war is now.
          • by MrMonroe (1194387) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:03PM (#21523771)
            Who wants totally uncontrolled system? Weed at 18, harder drugs at 21, no PCP or Oxy without prescription. Fair? Tax the lot of it and let transparent companies take control of the market and you eliminate virtually all of the violence associated with the drug trade. As it is, we simply enrich the kingpins and encourage more people to get into the business.
            • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

              by ScentCone (795499)
              ... harder drugs at 21 ... Tax the lot of it and let transparent companies take control of the market and you eliminate virtually all of the violence associated with the drug trade.

              Will you also be subsidizing other people's consumption of those drugs, and for that matter the rest of their not-as- or non-productive lives as they consume them? With other people's tax dollars? Because if you expect that people are still going to have to pay for what they consume, many of those over-21-year-olds that you'd
              • The same questions could be asked about alcohol and cigarettes. Do you support outlawing those as well?
                And don't forget, the first thing that happens when drugs are decriminalised is a massive drop in price.
              • "Will you also be subsidizing other people's consumption of those drugs, and for that matter the rest of their not-as- or non-productive lives as they consume them? With other people's tax dollars?"

                We already do. It is called prison and over 50% of the people there are in there for drug convictions. Who do you think pays for the courts and prison systems? The taxpayers.

                "Because if you expect that people are still going to have to pay for what they consume, many of those over-21-year-olds that you'd be
                • by ScentCone (795499)
                  What? If a doctor knew exactly what kind of drugs they were taking, in controlled strengths and dosages (due to the fact they are now legal and regulated), how would that make it any more difficult?

                  Because people who trash their nervous systems (and have all sorts of indirect problems, like useless immune systems) are a train wreck. It's harder to treat people like that, and harder to understand when something else is causing complications.

                  if drugs were legal tomorrow would you go out and binge on her
                  • "Nice try. Do you really think that a sudden, giant wash of cheap, legal narcotics wouldn't bring a lot more young people into a (shorter) lifetime of addiction?"

                    No, I don't. Want proof? You offered it yourself -
                    If drugs were legal tomorrow would you go out and binge on heroin and cocaine?

                    No.

                    Why would the rest of the population be any different from you? There are already scores of drug addicts, so obviously the threat of incarceration isn't an effective deterrent. So what are the benefits of dra
                  • by causality (777677)

                    Nice try. Do you really think that a sudden, giant wash of cheap, legal narcotics wouldn't bring a lot more young people into a (shorter) lifetime of addiction? People steadily use drugs like heroin because they're addicted to it. They get addicted to it by trying/using it. They try/use it for the first time, typically, in a social setting. Make heroin legal, and you'll manufacture untold more social settings in which that can and will happen for the first time. And then you'll have more people "choosing" t

                    • by ScentCone (795499)
                      So I guess that whole freedom thing is too scary for you, and expecting adults to have some personal responsibility is a concept that exceeds your imagination?

                      So, when some 18-year-old ODs on heroin, legal or otherwise, you're going to make sure that doesn't show up, indirectly, as an expense that I get to pay for? We're already in a position where people's bad choices cost the rest of us untold hundreds of billions of dollars. And all people can talk about is making health care in the US an even more gl
              • by Hatta (162192)
                Because if you expect that people are still going to have to pay for what they consume, many of those over-21-year-olds that you'd be happy to see on heroin are still going to resort to crime in order to pay for their existence.

                You can be addicted to opiates and still make a living. In fact, you can be a world renowned surgeon [wikipedia.org] and be addicted to opiates. Most of the problems opiate addiction causes is due to the social stigma and difficulty involved in getting the drug. Oh, and without the overhead of t
            • by mi (197448)

              Weed at 18, harder drugs at 21, no PCP or Oxy without prescription. Fair? Tax the lot of it and let transparent companies take control of the market and you eliminate virtually all of the violence associated with the drug trade.

              And then you sue all those companies for umpteen billions. Indeed, why should Big Cocaine be different from Big Tobacco?

              • by Gospodin (547743) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:54PM (#21524493)

                And then you sue all those companies for umpteen billions. Indeed, why should Big Cocaine be different from Big Tobacco?

                Hey now, relax. Currently we're only sending the US Marines against the drug cartels. Now you want to unleash an army of lawyers on them?! Talk about your cruel and unusual punishment.

                Heck, forget waterboarding. Let's just put the terrorists at the Gitmo through a prolonged child custody battle. They'll crack in no time.

            • by runderwo (609077) *

              Who wants totally uncontrolled system? Weed at 18, harder drugs at 21, no PCP or Oxy without prescription. Fair? Tax the lot of it and let transparent companies take control of the market and you eliminate virtually all of the violence associated with the drug trade. As it is, we simply enrich the kingpins and encourage more people to get into the business.

              How about starting by eliminating the federal war on drugs that unconstitutionally prevents states from implementing such common sense policies? I think

          • by Hatta (162192)
            The drug situation as it is now IS completely uncontrolled. You can't regulate the black market. The best you can do is legalize and bring them under the umbrella of government regulation.
        • Or put the money into prevention, education etc. which is more cost-effective than repression.

          I'm not sure things would 'dry up' though. Prohibition (of alocohol) led to the same sad results that we've got with hard drugs.
          Well-organised and financed crime.

          Sadly though, alcohol abuse is still with us...
          • Education is the key here, I think...

            I used to work with a local cadet unit. Our cadets were a fairly even mix of males and females who were aged 13 - 20.

            Whilst working with them I had my eyes opened to just how seriously lacking drug education in schools is here in the UK.

            In schools, the drugs education basically consists of about an hour to an hour and a half during which a teacher, not usually from any particular subject area, who had absolutely no experience or training in the subject of substanc
        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Sure. We can all see how the legalization of tobacco and alcohol has eradicated demand for those products.
          • > Sure. We can all see how the legalization of tobacco and alcohol has
            > eradicated demand for those products.

            True. But when was the last time you heard about somebody getting shot for a cigarette?

            Some problems are worse than others.

            • by Bobo72a (1150977)
              On a separate note, a kid I knew in high school just recently received a prison sentence for stabbing another man for stealing his cigarettes. The world is a funny place.
        • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

          by jbeaupre (752124)
          So my dad will no longer be a toothless meth addict who rarely bathes, lives as a squatter near Compton, and looks 20 years older than he is? Sorry, but something makes me want to call BULLSHIT!

          FYI, he started as a pothead. So forgive me if I don't exactly support the notion that pot is an ok drug, safe to legalize.
          • by Hatta (162192)
            Before he started smoking pot I bet he drank orange juice. Maybe we should ban that too? Post hoc ergo propter hoc?
          • by Samalie (1016193)
            Ok, I'm not meaning to troll in the shlightest, but I seriously doubt that he "started as a pothead"

            Odds are he started on booze. Same as everybody else.

            While I do not deny that the "hardcore" drugs beat the living hell out of people's lives, and I have the upmost sympathy for what you personally have most likely gone through, the war on ganja is pure unadulterated bullshit. The only proven tie between pot use and hard drug use is the dealer - you go in to buy weed and are offered , you try it, you
        • by McFadden (809368)

          Unlike botnets though, problems associated with drugs would dry up if they simply removed laws banning said drugs.
          Yeah, because there's never been a single incident of alcohol related crime since prohibition ended. I'm in favor of a carefully monitored and controlled legalization of drugs, as I think it would improve the situation, but flippant suggestions that the problem would just disappear are just overly simplistic and worthless.
          • by plague3106 (71849)
            I said most. When was the last time you had a neighborhood shot up over a rum runner though? You're right though, we need to let the mob have SOMETHING to do.
      • by wattrlz (1162603)
        They should do for the "War on spam," what they did for the, " War on drugs,". eg: auction off the evidence and let 'em keep the cash.
    • 2. Its is the answer to all questions of speculative quantity due to its patented even-prime properties. There is no question too big or too small for it to answer.
  • well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moogied (1175879) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:09PM (#21522969)

    20 million in economic loss

    And what was the cost of this project to begin with?

    • Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wiredog (43288) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:17PM (#21523091) Journal
      If the cost of a burglary investigation is likely to exceed the cost of the burglary, do the police not investigate?
      • Very often they do not. They will come, file a report so you can give a report to your insurance company, and say goodbye. Very little "investigation" is done.
      • Sorry, meant to mention this too: When you hear about police raids for RIAA or MPAA, they are happening because those agencies are willing to take a bulk of the costs onto themselves.
      • by moogied (1175879)
        No they don't actually..

        Infact its clearly written into law like that. They have varying degrees of burglary, from simple breaking and entering to grand theft. There is a clearly defined monetary difference attached to burglary. The same should be applied to the FBI's approach. If it was, RIAA/MPAA would not have them running around like errand boys. How much did I "steal" from RIAA/MPAA? None. None at all.

        • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Smidge204 (605297) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:44PM (#21523511) Journal
          The fallacy there is thinking financial loss is the ONLY aspect of botnet operation. Botnets cause a lot more damage than what fraud and spam cost.

          A better analogy would be investigating a serial arsonist and discovering a link to a recent rash of burglary incidents in the process.
          =Smidge=
          • by moogied (1175879)
            I completly agree, but this is America. Its best to speak in terms on finicial damages to anyone in charge of anything. On that level, the FBI completly wasted money that would have been better invested in educating users.
            • by Phurge (1112105)
              "but this is America. Its best to speak in terms on finicial damages" "but this is America. Its best to speak in terms of ingrained puritanism" there, fixed that for you.
  • There are plenty. If the government knows how to find botnets, they know how to run their own. I am willing to bet that pretty much any government worth anything will be using them, or has been using them to spy on other countries. If you believe that the NSA is NOT using one, you need to go get a tin foil hat this afternoon, and I mean it.

    Industrial espionage doesn't seem likely, but it is happening already. Those without visible malicious activities or results will go undetected. They are out there in the
    • by 77Punker (673758) <spencr04@@@highpoint...edu> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:17PM (#21523077)
      Nobody on Slashdot trusts governments, but you make vague claims about widespread government and business use of botnets. Care to show us some examples?

      I don't understand why the NSA needs a botnet; they have all the computing power they need and know how to spoof anything else. They don't need your computer to do their dirtywork; they can do it all on their own.
      • I don't understand why the NSA needs a botnet; they have all the computing power they need and know how to spoof anything else.

        I'd agree, and to extend that argument, if they used your computer there are enough smart people out there who could figure out NSA secrets! It's just not worth it.

      • Plus it would be illegal! Surely they would never do something like that?

        More seriously, one can think of several reasons, (including denyability - does that word exist?), for a gov. to maintain a secret botnet. The attack on Estonia springs to mind...

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberattacks_on_Estonia_2007 [wikipedia.org]
        • by 77Punker (673758)
          Looks like the attack on Estonia was a failure since everybody knows it was Russia. Deniability plays no role because if they put programs on people's computers, they'll pretty quickly put it on the wrong person's computer. The NSA is an organization of human beings that are not interested in getting fired because of some exposure of illegal dealings.
        • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

          by cromar (1103585)
          Yes, "deniability" is a word.
          • by cromar (1103585)
            LOL. Checking if a word is in the dictionary for someone who asks is flamebait now?
            • Yeah, I though it was hard..did not take it as an insult personally...still, sticks and stones...
              • by cromar (1103585)
                Sticks and stones may break my bones, but Slashdot moderation will never hurt me ;)
      • Plus they'd be hanging themselves out there for some person to discover ("Hey, the NSA is running a botnet!"). Why bother?
        • by thewils (463314)
          Hold on, I thought the NSA's botnet was something called Windows [slashdot.org]? I know it's old, but there could still be merit in this claim.
      • It would be dangerous. If you want a computer to process something, that computer is going to be looking at whatever it is processing in an unencrypted form at some point. You can be all tricky about it, but there's no avoiding that. That's why AACS was bypassed so easily, they key in on the computer, there's no avoiding it.

        So for the NSA to put classified data on public machines would imply that people could get at it.
      • by Chapter80 (926879)

        Nobody on Slashdot trusts governments, but you make vague claims...
        Care to prove that NOBODY on Slashdot trusts governments? :-)
    • I think I already have that virus. Now where the hell did I put that m file.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by blast3r (911514)
      I just now realized I don't know what "Score:5, Informative" means on /. anymore. Shouldn't this be rated 'funny'?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Danathar (267989)
      I only believe what I have evidence to see, unless we are talking about religion then it's a self evident truth that I'm only privy to.

      Now not saying that your THEORY that the NSA has their own botnets does not have merit (I can think of reasons why) but do you actually have evidence? Or are you just saying "The NSA is Evil and Evil hackers like Botnets so the NSA has botnets"
    • It goes undetected for several years... data loss is attributed to poor system performance/upgrades/hardware failures.

      If it's indistinguishable from normal poor system maintenance/structure/whatever, then who cares? Whether last year's TPS reports are lost because of my own negligence or due to some malicious code, the result is the same -- a useless piece of data is gone. The trick is to make sure this malicious code actually deletes things that are *useful* -- things whose deletion has meaning.

      I delete old useless stuff all the time. If I was to change the selection of things I delete from my personal hand-selection met

    • by Rinikusu (28164) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:49PM (#21523573)
      Isn't this what many of us romanticized about back in the late 80s/early 90s? The Cyberpunks, with their l33t hacking skills, breaking into corporate dataspace, stealing intel, selling it to the highest bidder? Yeah, some innocent "civvies" get caught in the crossfire, but here it is. Except not.

      Where are the grizzled, thick russian accented, boots wearing, crusty hackers in their survival-style grey-market Russian SUVs decked out with a hodgepodge of the sweetest, cutting edge tech and an old C-64 for shits and giggles online in the back? Where are the dark, smoke-filled bars where suits and data cowboys secretly meet up to exchange USB keys and microdrives for cold, hard cash?

      The future is here, but it's certainly not sexy. Geeks are still geeks. :/
      • by Bri3D (584578)
        Maybe you're out of the loop?

        The "shady bars" are called IRC (and I hear that they exist, for real, in Russia, but I've never been there so I can't actually say).

        The Cyberpunks, with their l33t hacking skills, breaking into corporate dataspace, stealing intel, selling it to the highest bidder?

        Uhh... really? [sans.org] You act like it never happens, and sure, that's a sensationalized white paper, but guess what? It's more common than you seem to think.

        I laughed at your comment because you present it with suc

    • or as a sales copy editor at an antivirus vendor

      that was the most craptastic display of doom and gloom paranoid hysteric FUD i've seen in a long time

      "If you believe that the NSA is NOT using one, you need to go get a tin foil hat this afternoon, and I mean it"

      yeah, okay then

      !?
    • Imagine a virus that has one goal... to find a computer with your name as a user. Then, with galactic sized patience, waits...one file per week...copying them to some unknown IP address across the globe somewhere. This virus looks like a computer program owned by and run by a user. It goes undetected for several years.

      ...and already this type of software is out there in the wild
      Google, right?
    • That's not a botnet. That's a garden-variety virus. Botnets are used to steal computing resources/bandwidth that doesn't belong to you. Government departments have more than enough computing power, they don't need to steal it from a bunch of desktops running four year-old chips over a dialup link.
  • Sorry, just trying to figure out a botherder joke.
  • by dave562 (969951) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:17PM (#21523089) Journal
    Working for the FBI you'd get to put all of the knowledge that you have to use, your peers would look up to you for leveraging knowledge that you consider to be trivial, you'd get to go after spammers and botnet operators, AND you get to carry a firearm. Sure the pay kind of sucks, and the hours are probably pretty brutal at times, but all in all it would probably be a pretty good job.
    • The pay would probably be sucky compared to the private sector, but these are probably IT positions that would pay better than the field agent pay due to the difficulty in finding eligible candidates. (A good software developer with no criminal history and no drug use could be a narrow field.) Of course, being in the IT area means that you wouldn't be issued a firearm to carry around.

      But I think the job satisfaction level would be great once the arrests start happening.
      • by dave562 (969951)
        A good software developer with no criminal history and no drug use could be a narrow field.

        It is certainly too narrow of a field for me. ;) I was never evil genius level good enough to get snatched up by the NSA like a couple of guys I know. Those are the kind of jobs where they almost prefer you to have as shady of a background as possible.

    • by _.- thimk! -._ (898003) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @06:24PM (#21524931)
      There are up sides and down sides.

      Get to use all your skills? Full stop. Let's review.

      This is the government, with everything that comes with it. Those of you with government experience know what this means. Bureaucracy. Red Tape. Paperwork. For those of you who haven't had the experience, think of the most amazingly, monumentally, mind-bogglingly inane busywork paperwork you've ever had to deal with, and then multiply that by the biggest number you can imagine. Keep imagining.

      How well does bureaucracy adapt to change and embrace new technology, and all of it's associated skills? Here's a hint. The Bureau is still using Hoover's secretary's original filing system. Yes, it's still manual. Still paper. No changes. The same system. CSI is entertaining fiction.

      Other than small numbers of your fellow squad-mates who are also on cyber detail, your fellow agents are likely neo-luddites, mildly intimidated by word-processing. They're very, very bright people, with a lot of skills. Those skills, however, largely don't involve computers. And for the most part, they don't have to. Most areas of the office are air gapped, anyway. (Really, for the most part, they probably don't trust computers -- which, if you think about it, suggests they are pretty bright after all -- but they're probably not entirely sure they trust someone who spends too much time with them either. Put in enough time on the range, working out, knocking on doors, pounding pavement, and using your head to show you have a clue and you won't get them killed, and then you'll be okay. But not before.)

      As for your primary prey, it will not be spammers. It will not be botnet operators. It will not be industrial spies. You will not for the most part, young padawan, be matching your jedi skills against the very best the dark side has to offer.

      You will be chasing kiddie porn peddlars, and child molesters. You will be pretending to be 12-year-old girls in chat rooms. When you're doing well, you will be knocking on doors at 5 am, having to spend countless hours reviewing video tape collections to see what has been taped somewhere in the middle of those 400 episodes of 'the golden girls', or all of those Richard Simmons videos. When you find it, you will have to catalog it. (You will learn to be grateful for the fast-forward button on your remote. And you will see things you wish you could unsee.)

      If you're a badge-carrying Special Agent, yes, you're armed. "How cool, is that!", you say. You're armed whenever you're on duty, wherever you go. It's a Federal License. Those pesky little state limitations on firearms don't apply.

      Add one little detail. You're on call 24x7x365. Which means you have to be able to report for duty at any time, with no advance warning. Which means you're armed -- all the time. No breaks. No holidays. No days off without a sidearm. (Ponder this: where do you put your piece if you want to go to the beach?)

      Pay? For a rough rule of thumb calculation, take your current salary in your technical field. Divide by 2 to 2.5. The greater your technical skills the larger the number you'll divide by. You don't get paid based upon your skill set. You get paid based upon your grade. Which is dependent upon time in chair, once you're actually in. Unless you're former law enforcement, former military, or worked for a different governmental agency, in which case you'll start at a higher grade than someone without that background. (Though not necessarily at your previous grade, either.)

      Hours? Standard base is a 50 hour week. Unless you're needed for anything else, in which case it may be more. For a lot of tech folks, 50 hours is no big deal, you think. But, here's the kicker. Your morning will usually start at 5 am, in order to get to the office by 7 am. Unless you're knocking on someone's door, in which case you're probably up by 3 am. Or you're on stake out, in which case you're working whatever you're working. (If you're early, you're o
      • by dave562 (969951)
        Thanks for the realistic perspective on what working for the FBI might really be like. I hadn't even considered all of the priority given to kiddie porn and the like. I think that I will stick with my current DBA job.
    • ...of extraordinary magnitude. We forge our tradition in the spirit of our ancestors. You have our gratitude.
  • About half (Score:5, Interesting)

    by QuietLagoon (813062) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:23PM (#21523167)
    This past week or two, the SPAM level on my servers has been running about half of what iut had been last month. I chalked it up to the holidays, but now I wonder if the arrests had anything to do with the reduced level?
    • Just wondering: what does SPAM stand for? Sudden Plethora of Awesome Mail?
    • I, too, have noticed a 50% drop in spam, but with a notable characteristic. I've been getting tons of junk addressed to numeric ``users''. That is, things like 096213@example.com, or 6917329@example.com. (This obviously makes it trivial to filter; I've wondered what kind of an idiot would do such a thing.)

      A couple of days ago, it went away. Zip, zilch, zero, nada. To a first Occamatic approximation, they must have nailed the generator of this stuff.

  • by JRHelgeson (576325) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:23PM (#21523169) Homepage Journal
    While they did work to take down some botnets, they could only take out the criminals where they had jurisdiction - which is in the USA. Yes they work with Interpol and have made some symbolic arrests overseas. By and large, the botherders and real criminals continue to operate from countries with internet access combined with a dysfunctional or non-existent legal system (think Russia, Nigeria, Brazil), or simply where the computer crime laws have yet to catch up with the technology (think Spain, Portugal). Countries such as Russia, Brazil are high up on that list of professional criminals that are able to afford the bribes necessary to stay in business.
    • by oPless (63249)
      Try Malaysia and Indonesia that's where I see a load of botnets coming from.
      • Try Malaysia and Indonesia that's where I see a load of botnets coming from.

        Yes, they have a lot of botnets there, but that is NOT where the bot-herders reside. That is simply an indication of an internet populace that hasn't caught up with the concept of needing to patch, update AntiVirus, clean off malware.

        The same thing holds true for China, even more so. Being that China runs on pirated software, they don't have access to windows update (They fail windows genuine validation) so they deliberately avoid p

    • by jez9999 (618189)
      Easy answer:
      Hope you don't do business there, and block ALL e-mails originating from Russian, Nigerian, or Brazilian IPs. That'll hit spam hard.
  • I can't help but think, though: how many more of these things are out there that this 'sting' didn't touch?

    If I had to guess, I would say it is roughly the same number of computers in use by the US government...
  • by mcelrath (8027) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:27PM (#21523247) Homepage

    When the level of spam drops back below 95% of it being spam [slashdot.org], I'll believe these guys are doing their jobs.

    Until then, they're just a bunch of ineffectual wankers, and are increasingly more ineffectual as time goes on.

    The FTC, FBI, CIA, and NSA are wasting their resources chasing some overinflated bogeyman risk ("terrorists") and meanwhile our communications, financial and transaction systems are under heavy assult. The long term effect of this is lack of confidence in transactions in general, and that is the primary thing that holds economies together.

    In other words, we're seriously boned unless these jokers get their act together.

    • by swb (14022)
      They need to follow the money behind some of these spammers and start RICO prosecutions against anyone who even had a tangental relationship with these people.

      If the legitimate world was worried about $100k fines and 20 years in a Federal-run-by-the-Aryan-Brotherhood-pound-me-in-the-ass prison for dealing with spammers and their ilk, it'd get a lot colder out there for spammers.

      • I grew up knowing a lot of older people who have been in and out of prison (One of them is in his early 60s, and has spent well over 30 years behind bars, mostly for robbing banks), and all of the ones who have been to both state and federal prisons have said that state prisons are hell, while the federal prisons are pretty easy in comparison. The only difference is that with a state prison, you can get off on parole after doing maybe 30% of your sentence's time (That varies from state to state, I'm sure) i
  • by jskline (301574) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:32PM (#21523307) Homepage
    One thing that was overlooked here or at least not explained is what happened to all the Bots??? I would be willing to bet that control of these Bots was handed over to another cohort or co-conspirator before being removed from access.

    So it begs the question who now has all those Bots??? Are they or how do they plan to notify these people that their machines are infected and that they need to be cleaned...???
    • Are they or how do they plan to notify these people that their machines are infected and that they need to be cleaned...???

      I had tried to before, but I lack the legal tools: subpoenas. It's so interesting that the FBI considers botnets dangerous, but so far I haven't seen a government-sponsored campaign to prevent botnets and virus infections.

      If all the major e-mail companies (hotmail, google, yahoo) and the US government united in identifying the bot-infected machines in the U.S (assume every spam comes fr

  • by Thagg (9904) <thadbeier@gmail.com> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:36PM (#21523379) Journal
    What kind of tools would the FBI, or any TLA, need to go after botnets?

    Assuming that the 'nets were employed to do something blatant (and this is surely not universally the case) you would watch the DDOS or spam attack and see what IP addresses were doing that, then you'd want to go back and see what machines communicated with those machines in the past, and the machines that communicated with those machines. Mining that information should, at some point, lead you to the systems that originated and controlled the attack.

    Of course, nobody has that information, right? Nobody can possibly save all the connections between all machines on the internet, certainly not for any length of time...[now is the time to get out your envelopes to do calculations -- I don't think it's by any means impossible to do this.]

    If you can't save the whole net, then perhaps you can set probes -- watch internet nexi for IP addresses to go by, once you've identified a few hundred thousand bot-infested machines. Assuming that a bot herder uses machines more than once [another perhaps unsupportable assumption] you could do the same analysis, more slowly, by tracking with these probed addresses as they come across the wire.

    I hate botnets, they will destroy the 'net, but I'm not sure that the solution is any better than the problem.

  • http://xkcd.com/350/ [xkcd.com]

    In the comic, a guy has a 40+inches computer display showing a network of viruses in virtualized Windows installs, as an alternative to an aquarium. What is most interesting is the alternate text. It says:

    Viruses so far have been really disappointing on the 'disable the internet' front, and time is running out. When Linux/Mac win in a decade or so the game will be over.

  • Bot nets no longer hosting of sexy time with childrens. Operation is Great Success! High Five!
  • legal subpoenaes being issued? Or was it done without them?

    If so, when and where were they issued and by whom? If not - WHY not?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    So does the ACLU, I bet.
  • The FBI is not as effective as the Russian Mafia.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The FBI is not as effective as the Russian mafia?

      My response is that the Russian mafia will never be as effective as American capitalism and democracy. It's the thug-like 'take and take' mentality that guides the motivations of these individuals will only really get them so far. They really don't want to work for anything at all. They're the bottom of the barrel scum of humanity. They know it, and that's all they apparently know how to be.

      Unfortunately, a gang of thugs like the Russian mafia aren't savvy
  • by pyrr (1170465) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @05:31PM (#21524139)

    ...but not the disease. So a bunch of botnet-herder script kiddies and other ne'er-do-wells who exploit a situation are in jail. Did they patch even a single one of the compromised Windows systems that were a part of the botnet? No, they "disrupted" the botnets, which supposedly is going to reduce their ability to be compromised for criminal purposes in the future. I'm sorry, but unless they somehow repaired the exploits, or confiscated the compromised machines and thus removed them from the internet, they're still a bunch of junkers spewing malicious packets and waiting for some new bot-herder to take the helm, hazardous to the infrastructure as well as all the other computers they share the "tubes" with.

    The fundamental problem is a single-user operating system that had networking capabilities cobbled-on, but that still is set up like a single-user environment where trust and security weren't perceived as issues. I'd like to see Microsoft step-up to the plate and put effort into developing exciting extras to be bundled with security updates that would at least make their users get more motivated about patching. Of course there's more to security than that, but we're all going to have to live with the mess Microsoft has made with pretty much every OS up to (and quite possibly still including) Vista, for years to come. Barring any proactive effort on Microsoft's part, it seems to me like the FBI has some responsibility to track down computers used in crimes and do something just a bit more permanent than just "reducing" their ability to facilitate criminal activity in the future.

    • by sigterm9 (1192467)
      very good point, and quite the same as I was thinking. It would be great to see something proactive come out of this, but then again, thats asking the impossible, because M$ can't get it through their thick skulls to actually do something about it. A sad web they have woven...
    • by gad_zuki! (70830)
      >Did they patch even a single one of the compromised Windows systems that were a part of the botnet?

      You patch a machine on my network? Yeah that's a federal offense. Get a warrant.

      Its amazing how little people care about law and rights when it comes to technology.

      >I'd like to see Microsoft step-up to the plate and put effort into developing exciting extras to be bundled with security updates that would at least make their users get more motivated about patching.

      And I'd like a pony. MS turns on auto u
  • by fastest fascist (1086001) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @07:29PM (#21525823)
    Whenever I hear about law enforcement successes in the "cyber" sphere, I can't help but feel a bit uneasy. I've no love for botnets or the people who run them, but I also don't much like the idea of an increased police influence on the Internet. Whatever techniques they learn in apprehending criminals, they will also apply when acting as censors, and I also fear that these wins over criminals will act as good propaganda for having a policed net in general.

My idea of roughing it turning the air conditioner too low.

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