Security analysts claim Kaspersky Lab has undertaken a second takedown of the Kelihos botnet, but warned that this is a temporary fix, with future iterations likely to return.
Researchers at Kaspersky confirmed they had successfully taken control of the latest iteration of the command and control servers of the newest version of the Kelihos botnet, sometimes known as Hlux.
The take down was an important step in security firms' ongoing joint operation against Kelihos, but Kaspersky was quick to note that the victory did not mark the end of the botnet.
"It's an important step in fighting botnets and therefore protecting users around the world. Hlux was sending masses of spam, doing [distributed denial of service] attacks and spying credentials and email addresses," Kaspersky Lab researcher Marco Preuß told V3.
"However, we were only able to sinkhole the botnet, so it is no longer under control of the bot-herders. We of course cannot disinfect the bots due to legal problems. The only permanent solution is for there to be more international legislation and laws so that cyber security experts and law-enforcement can work more collaboratively."
Other security analysts suggested that a tweaked version of the botnet malware will inevitably emerge.
"For the time being, the teams involved in the partial disabling of the Kelihos botnet, have implemented another pretty good temporary fix." ESET senior researcher David Harley told V3.
"Unfortunately, tweaking and recompiling is trivial if you have the source code, which obviously the Kelihos gang do."
The first Kelihos take-down occurred in 2011 as a part of a joint operation between Microsoft and Kaspersky. The botnet subsequently re-appeared in January, taking over its predecessor's spam, distributed denial of service and cyber theft operations.
The analysts' warnings follow on from a recent report by IBM, suggesting cyber criminals are evolving new and more dangerous techniques.
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