Talk of Mariposa may have faded, but the botnet is still very active. Some new occurrences have been observed here and merit reporting for those still following the story.
The origins of the Mariposa botnet for Defence Intelligence goes back to the observance of a suspicious domain that was being queried for quite frequently.
Butterfly.bigmoney.biz had popped up in our radar as unusual in both its name and the volume of queries for it that were being made. With some fairly extensive analysis, our investigation revealed some other domains of interest:
These four, butterfly.bigmoney.biz included, had proved to be command and control domains for the botnet.
On October 4th an update occurred and new domains were contacted.
The latter of these has taken on a much different role over time. Communication to 18.104.22.168, where thejacksonfive.mobi was also pointed, was readily seen after the 4th. Various commands to Mariposa were being issued from this IP, including one to spread itself across MSN using the drop site URL http://obamawebcam.com/load.php. The file to be dropped was named bin.exe but the spread on our test system was ineffective at the time. A Virustotal report showed detections as palevo as many of the malware behind Mariposa are labeled. Several other binaries were also downloaded, most of them from rapidshare.com.
Recently, on November 3rd, a new binary was grabbed from rapidshare as instructed by butterfly.bigmoney.biz. This file, named blackjackson.exe, was found to be version 1.92 of the BlackEnergy DDOS bot and along with its installation came a new C&C domain, thejacksonfive.us. Both thejacksonfive.us and thejacksonfive.mobi are now also used as web based GUI controls for BlackEnergy.
A good writeup on BlackEnergy can be found in Arbor’s BlackEnergy+DDoS+Bot+Analysis.pdf. A third related domain, tamiflux.net, is also used as a web interface for the DDOS malware and is currently the only one blacklisted by Firefox.
On November 4th, thejacksonfive.us issued a command to begin an HTTP GET request flood of three domains and one IP:
22.214.171.124 (the IP address for saaid.net)
These Saudi Arabian sites appear to be forums for religious and regional political discussion so the motivation behind the attacks may also be religious or political. Al-hora.com has been targeted for “censorship” for quite some time now and has apparently been kept offline since December 2007. Read more at www.rsf.org. Currently, of the sites being targeted, only saaid.net has managed to recover from the attacks.
On November 5th, thejacksonfive.us site changed orders to alter the attack slightly, using a syn flood instead of a GET request flood and only targeting islamlight.net and saaid.net. This alteration was likely made in response to saaid.net’s sustained presence online. (They talk about the attack on the home page.) Tamiflux.net is HTTP flooding the same domains.
Gaining some insight into the attacks we’ve discovered that the DDOS botnet has about 5500 members under active control at any given time, and over 60,000 unique compromised systems. This is rather small however compared to the 1.5 million unique computers we believe to be members of the Mariposa botnet.
The Mariposa botnet has continued to grow in size since we first observed it in May and has far surpassed our original estimation of 150 to 200k compromised systems. The distribution of compromised systems is fairly wide but concentrations are obvious in Central America, Europe and South Korea.