In December 2021, Google announced it has taken down the infrastructure operated by the Glupteba botnet, it also sued Russian nationals Dmitry Starovikov and Alexander Filippov for creating and operating the botnet.
The blockchain-enabled botnet has been active since at least 2011, researchers estimated that the Glupteba botnet was composed of more than 1 million Windows PCs around the world as of December 2021.
The botnet was involved in stealing users’ credentials and data, mining cryptocurrencies abusing victims’ resources, and setting up proxies to funnel other people’s internet traffic through infected machines and routers.
Botnet operators use to spread the malware via cracked or pirated software and pay-per-install (PPI) schemes.
Now researchers from Nozomi Networks reported that the Glupteba botnet is back, and researchers reported a surge in the number of infections worldwide. Experts noticed a significant increase of malicious bitcoin addresses along with the increase in TOR hidden service being used as C2 servers.
The researchers observed a new campaign that started in June 2022 after the Google lawsuit and is still ongoing.
Nozomi analyzed the entire blockchain to discover the C2 domains used by the botnet, the researchers also downloaded over 1500 Glupteba samples from VirusTotal to track the wallet addresses used by the operators.