" ITREALMS: Microsoft insists on case against Kelihos


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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Microsoft insists on case against Kelihos

Microsoft has reiterated its determination to campaign against the Kelihos botnet, which has seen the company file a lawsuit against the Russian man it now believes to be responsible for its operations, reports TechWorld.

In a filing to a Virginia court, Microsoft alleged that Andrey N. Sabelnikov from St. Petersburg contributed code for the malware that set up the bot, registering 3,700 Czech .cz subdomains to aid its operation.

The company’s campaign against Kelihos dates back to last September when it launched a similar court action against a Czech-based domain provider, the dotFREE Group and its owner Dominique Piatti, who were accused of hosting the domains that made Kelihos possible.

Both were later exonerated after they agreed to aid Microsoft’s Kelihos investigation, but the accused Kelihos botmaster’s former employer, were reportedly ‘angered’ at revelation, hence the Kelihos botnet domain provider promises to make amends.

The report has it that Microsoft has passed the Rustock botnet case on to the Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) for further actions.

According to the report, researchers discovered 4.5 million-strong super-botnet under the company also named “John Does 1-22” as being involved in Kelihos, one of whom must have included Sabelnikov himself.

Kelihos was always a pretty modest botnet, the report added, but the number of infected hosts is not thought to have gone above 45,000, but Microsoft sees disrupting every botnet using legal means as strategically important.

“Microsoft is committed to following the evidence wherever it leads us through the investigation in order to hold Kelihos’ operators accountable for their actions,” the company said in a new blog post on the case.

Further, Microsoft said it believes this is important both because of the harm caused by Kelihos and because all botnet operators should understand that there are risks and consequences for engaging in malicious activity.

The case bears a superficial resemblance to last week’s naming of the Russians alleged by Facebook and other security companies to have been involved in the Koobface worm that assaulted users of various social networks between 2008 and 2010.

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