Court Approves Microsoft Action Against Waledac Botnet

In an unusual move, a federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia, granted a request from software giant Microsoft for an ex parte temporary restraining order to deactivate some 277 Internet domains used in the command-and-control infrastructure of the Waledac botnet, which is estimated to have infected more than 75,000 computers worldwide and generate untold millions of spam messages. Pursuant to the order, Network Solutions shut down the domains, in theory cutting off numerous Waledac-infected computers from the cybercriminals and scammers controlling them remotely. The unusual order was carried out without any attempt to inform the “John Does” to which is was being applied; of course, that surprise factor is the only thing that lets such a domain shutdown be effective: with warning, the crooks would just migrate the botnet to new domains.

court approves microsoft action against waledac botnet infection map

“The takedown of the Waledac botnet that Microsoft executed this week—known internally as “Operation b49″—was the result of months of investigation and the innovative application of a tried and true legal strategy,” wrote Microsoft associate general counsel Tim Cranton in the official Microsoft blog. Microsoft describes Waledac as one of the ten largest botnets in the United States, and said from December 3 to 21 of 2009 Waledoc-infected machines pointed Microsoft’s Hotmail email service with more than 650 million spam messages.

The legal action against the operators of the Waledac botnet is the first of its kind, and Microsoft promises it won’t be the last. However, the ex parte nature of the action may begin to establish a legal precedent that it’s OK to order domains to be taken offline so long someone can convince a judge such an action has concrete benefits to consumers and businesses. As part of its complaint (PDF), Microsoft highlighted damages being done to Internet users around the world by the Waledac botnet, as well as the expense and lost productivity companies have faced trying to deal with Waledac spam and infections.

Image: Waledac infections around the world during a recent 24-hour period. (Microsoft)


Peloton’s tech lets truckers play follow the leader to boost fuel economy

Peloton Technology can help semi trucks save fuel by running close together on the highway. Using short-range wireless communications, the trucks get a kind of super cruise control.

Hackers are scoring with ransomware that attacks its previous victims

Computer viruses are always evolving. In a new one, dubbed "Ryuk," hackers are targeting PCs with ransomware that scours an infected network in order to pinpoint and attack and enterprises with big money.

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

Stop your PC's vow of silence with these tips on how to fix audio problems

Sound problems got you down? Don't worry, with a few tweaks and tricks we'll get your sound card functioning as it should, and you listening to your favorite tunes and in-game audio in no time.

Yes, Android apps can run on your PC, and it's easier than you think

Wish you knew how to run Android apps in Windows? It's easier than you might think and there are a number of different ways to do it. In this guide, we break down the steps so you can follow along with ease.

Chip off the auction block – Intel’s i9-9990XE may be sold to the highest bidder

Intel's alleged Core i9-9990XE may only be sold at auction to OEMs, meaning that only a few of the 14-core, 28-thread, 5GHz CPUs will ever see the light of day in specific devices and systems.

Don't spend hundreds on Pro Tools or Logic. Try one of these free alternatives

Believe it or not, Pro Tools isn't the only digital audio workstation worth your time. Check out our picks for the best free recording software, whether you're looking for a lightweight app or a full-blown audio workstation.

How to share an external hard drive between Mac and Windows

Compatibility issues between Microsoft Windows and Apple MacOS may have diminished sharply over the years, but that doesn't mean they've completely disappeared. Here's how to make an external drive work between both operating systems.

Should you buy the affordable MacBook Air, or is the MacBook Pro worth the price?

Though they both share Retina Displays and similar keyboards, there are still some specs differences and other changes that differentiate the new 2018 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. In this guide, we stack the two up against each other.

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019: Complete Coverage

There's no bigger show for mobile tech geeks than Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: where flagship phones are born and intriguing new wearables shine. And this year, where foldable phones and 5G are likely to dominate the news. For…

Google is giving its G Suite web apps new touches of visual improvements

Your G Suite applications will soon have a different look. Several of the web apps are getting updated with subtle visual improvements inspired by Google's Material Design guidelines. 
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…

An update to Microsoft To-Do will help you keep up with your resolutions

If you're looking to stay productive in 2019, you might want to check out the freshly updated Microsoft To-Do app, now with additional integration with the Windows 10 Start Menu and more.