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Coordinated Effort Underway To Take Down Trickbot Malware

By October 29, 2020May 5th, 2022Cybersecurity

Score one for the good guys. A team led by Microsoft’s DCU (Digital Crimes Unit) that includes Symantec, NTT Ltd, ESET, and Lumen’s Black Lotus Labs is working on something new. They have launched a sustained, coordinated attack on Trickbot’s infrastructure in a bid to destroy it, preventing the hackers who control it from making and launching new campaigns against servers around the world.

Microsoft fired the opening shots in the campaign against the group, securing permission from the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to take out 19 IP addresses that Trickbot’s handlers used to control infected computers.

While the initial salvo certainly got the hackers’ attention, they moved quickly to rebuild their infrastructure. In a twist that Microsoft’s coalition hadn’t counted on, the hackers reached out to their partners. Their partners control the Emotet botnet and got their assistance as well, with Emotet’s bots being reprogrammed to launch attacks using Trickbot.

Bolstered by Emotet’s vast botnet, Trickbot’s controllers hit back fast and hard, launching a series of new attacks against a wide range of targets, and for a time, the outcome of the campaign was very much in doubt. Microsoft, however, has vast resources and they kept the pressure on.

An update, posted on October 18, reads in part, as follows:

“As of October 18, we’ve worked with partners around the world to eliminate 94 percent of Trickbot’s critical operational infrastructure including both the command-and-control servers in use at the time our action began and new infrastructure Trickbot has attempted to bring online.”

For now at least, the battle appears to be mostly over, and the good guys won. You can bet, however, that the hackers will regroup and return. As important as Microsoft’s victory was here, it is only a temporary one. Still, a bit of very good news indeed.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.