TDL-4 creates 4.5 million PC ‘indestructible’ botnet

botnetAccording to Kaspersky Lab, a new TDSS rootkit variant called TDL-4 has infected more than 4.5 million PCs worldwide in just the first three months of 2011. The security experts say that this sneaky malware is one of the most technologically sophisticated threats to date. Because of upgrades from the previous TDL-3 incarnation, this new TDL-4 has the ability to create a botnet that is practically ‘indestructible’.

TDL-4 is a bootkit, it infects the master boot record of a PC which allows the code to run before a computer’s operating systems starts up. Doing this allows the malware, along with the programs it downloads, invisibility to operating systems as well as any antivirus programs.

But this isn’t new for TDSS. What makes this version a silent killer is an upgrade in encryption and the decentralization of the botnet. The new encryption algorithm used to network the control center with computer zombies keeps the botnet from being detected by traffic analysis and keeps other cyber criminals at bay.

The way the decentralization works is probably most important. Unlike the Coreflood botnet, recently hit hard by the FBI, the TDL-4 doesn’t necessarily have command-and-control servers that will incapacitate the malware when seized. The cyber criminals use the publicly accessible Kad P2p network as second way to send commands to infected PCs. If the servers are taken out, the botnet keeps on going via custom Kad client. Like the T1000, it just reforms and keeps on doing its evil duties.

To top off that display of durability, TDL-4 has 64-bit support and its own antivirus. The antivirus allows the rootkit to eliminate threats that would draw attention to its presence. The first TDSS rootkit made an appearance in 2008 and is said to be more widespread than the well known Rustock. The creators have been perfecting the malware since then and Kaspersky’s Sergey Golovanov says, “we have reason to believe that TDSS will continue to evolve.”

Computing

Turn your Raspberry Pi into a Steam streaming hub with Valve’s Steam Link app

Valve's Steam Link app is now fully supported by Raspberry PI hardware, meaning that just about anyone with a few dollars to spare can build their own Steam streaming box in a matter of minutes.
Home Theater

Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime: Battle of the streaming giants

Trying to figure out which subscription streaming service to use while sticking to a frugal entertainment budget? Check out our updated comparison of the big three: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu.
Computing

Windows Update not working after October 2018 patch? Here’s how to fix it

Windows update not working? It's a more common problem than you might think. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot it and in this guide we'll break them down for you step by step.
Gaming

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?
Computing

Latest Facebook bug exposed up to 6.8 million users’ private photos

An API bug recently left an impact on Facebook users. Though the issue has since been fixed, some of the apps on the platform had a wrongful access to consumers photos for 12 days between September 13 and September 25. 
Computing

You can now get a Surface Laptop 2 for $800 at the Microsoft Store

Along with deals on other variants, starting configurations of Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 are now going for $800 online at its retail store, cutting $200 from its usual $1,000 starting price. 
Computing

You’ll soon be able to scribble all over PDFs on your Chromebook

Chrome OS users may soon be able to doodle all over their PDF documents with the possible addition of a new feature in Chrome OS' PDF viewer. The annotation feature is expected to allow users to hand draw or write over their documents.
Computing

Need a monitor for professional photo-editing? These are the very best

Looking for the best monitor for photo editing? You'll need to factor in brightness, color accuracy, color gamut support and more. Fortunately, we've rounded up the best ones for you, to help you make an educated purchase.
Computing

HDR monitors are beginning to have an impact. Here are the best you can buy

HDR isn't the most common of PC monitor features and is often charged at a premium, but the list of available options is growing. These are the best HDR monitors you can buy right now.
Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Prices drop, but our favorite stays the same

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two big names in the virtual reality arena, but most people can only afford one. Our comparison tells you which is best when you pit the Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive.
Computing

Microsoft’s Windows 95 throwback was just an ugly sweater giveaway

Microsoft's "softwear" announcement wasn't what we had hoped for. Thursday's announcement was not the new line of wearable tech or SkiFree monster sweater we wished for. But it did deliver the 90s nostalgia we wanted.
Home Theater

Confused about LED vs. LCD TVs? Here's everything you need to know

Our LED vs. LCD TV buying guide explains why these two common types of displays are fundamentally connected, how they differ, what to look for in buying an LED TV, and what's on the horizon for TVs.
Computing

Canada’s winters inspired a startup to warm homes with cryptomining heat waste

Cryptomining may be the key to untold riches and the future of currency, but it’s also an environmental nightmare. Heatmine, thinks it has the answer, but it could mean bolting a mining rig onto every home and business in the country.
Deals

The best MacBook deals for December 2018

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.