According to the complaint, two Russians and 15 unidentified individuals are to blame for Glupteba, a deadly “botnet” that has infected over a million PCs. Criminals use compromised device systems to steal personal information. It is the first time Google has gone to court against a botnet.
According to a lawsuit filed in New York and unsealed on Tuesday, the botnet created by Dmitry Starovikov, Alexander Filippov, and their associates has evolved into a “modern technical and transnational expression of organised crime.”
Glupteba’s dangerous software, found in 2011, is disseminated via third-party download sites, online movie streaming services, and a website that fraudulently pretends to be affiliated with Google-owned YouTube.
Private information obtained via the botnet can be used to perpetrate crimes such as fraud. According to court records, the Glupteba botnet is distinguished from others by its “technological complexity.”
Mr Starovikov and Mr Filippov, the only two hackers whose names were known, were unable to be reached for comment on the accusations. Google reported in a blog post that a corporate investigation had shown Glupteba was now affecting about a million hacked Windows machines. The botnet is said to expand at a rate of thousands of new devices each day at times.
“Glupteba is well-known for stealing users’ passwords and data, mining cryptocurrency on infected hosts, and setting up proxies to redirect other people’s internet traffic through infected PCs and routers,” according to the blog post.
Google believes it has disabled the hackers’ “essential command and control infrastructure,” denying those behind Glupteba control of the botnet “for the time being.” Mr Starovikov, Mr Filippov, and the 15 unidentified defendants are accused of computer fraud and abuse, trademark infringement, and a variety of other offences in the case.