The Russian cybercrooks behind the digital threats in your inbox.
Called “botnets” for short, these networks are collections of personal computers that have been hacked and seeded with malicious software—or “malware”—that lets the attackers control the systems from afar. Usually, the owners of these computers have no idea their machines have been taken hostage.
Cutwail is a massive crime machine that has infected tens of millions of home computers around the globe and secretly seized control over them in order to spam. Nechvolod had already earned millions of dollars using the botnet to send junk email for GlavMed and SpamIt to millions of people around the world. To this day, Cutwail remains one of the largest and most active spam botnets.
The software that powers botnets like Cutwail is typically rented out for use by other spammers, who frequently demand code tweaks or add-ons to help the bot programs work properly within their own criminal infrastructure.
Indeed, the miscreants at the helm of some of the world’s most active botnets already control thousands of zombie systems inside Fortune 500 companies that allow attackers to spam people using these corporations’ more powerful servers, and to siphon sensitive and proprietary data from internal company systems.