Botnets remain one of the biggest problems in the world today. An attempt to shut down the world’s largest botnet may not have been entirely successful. Fears over this network affecting the upcoming US elections remain prevalent.
The Trickbot Botnet is Still Around
People familiar with cybersecurity news will remember the name Trickbot. It has always been a powerful botnet, used primarily to deploy ransomware strains on a large scale. Since its inception, the platform has undergone numerous evolutions, yet was never shut down completely. Even a more recent attempt to fully thwart Trickbot may not have been successful.
To be more specific, the US military is concerned about Trickbot. Officials deem it “one of the top threats to the 2020 Presidential election“. A very interesting stance, given what happened during the 2016 election. Many people still suspect President Trump won with the help of foreign hackers, albeit that has never been officially proven.
Disrupting this massive botnet is never an easy feat. With over 1 million hijacked computers under Russian control, it poses a massive threat. Dismantling this network on a permanent basis will prove impossible, but a temporary blow may have been dealt. Some operational aspects have been disrupted, albeit it remains unclear if this will help at all.
For US Cyber Command, there is only one course of action. Incurring cumulative costs on the upkeep of Trickbot is a viable strategy. At the same time, it may prove to be a futile effort. Given the “value” this botnet has to its operators, they will do anything to keep it up and running.
A Fairly Potent Network
Influencing the US elections seems a bit unusual for Trickbot. It is a network used for ransomware, but also stealing financial data. With over 1 million “enslaved” computers, a lot of damage can be done in a variety of ways. Whether that poses a real threat to the 2020 US elections, is a different matter altogether.
It is not uncommon for this botnet to target US infrastructure, though. An attack against Universal health Services was orchestrated about a month ago. Thanks to the Ryuk ransomware, a lot of havoc was caused in the process. It remains unclear if any money changed hands, however.
A previous attempt to disrupt Trickbot’s command and control servers proved unsuccessful. Although some changes were noted, operations were restored within 24 hours. This confirms it is incredibly difficult to take down this botnet in its current form. That said, future actions by US Cyber Command may prove slightly more fatal.
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