The FBI has dismantled the IPStorm botnet proxy network and arrested Sergei Makinin, a Russian and Moldovan national accused of running the network. Makinin pled guilty to three counts of violating 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A) — knowingly causing the transmission of a program that intentionally caused damage without authorization to protected computers.
IPStorm Botnet’s Operation
Makinin is said to have developed and deployed malicious software to hack thousands of internet-connected devices around the world. The main purpose of the botnet was to turn infected devices into proxies as part of a for-profit scheme available through the websites proxx.io and proxx.net.
Through his websites, Makinin sold access to the infected, controlled devices to customers seeking to hide their internet activities. Customers would pay hundreds of dollars a month to route traffic through the botnet. Makinin claimed on his website that he had more than 23,000 “highly anonymous” proxies from across the world. Makinin has admitted to gaining at least $550,000 from the service.
Law Enforcement Response
The FBI operation dismantled the botnet by disabling the defendant’s infrastructure but did not extend to the information of the owners and users of the computers. The operation was led by the FBI with cooperation from the Spanish National Police and Dominican National Police and assistance from Bitdefender SRL, Anomali Inc. and Intezer Ltd.
Significance of the Case
The takedown of the IPStorm botnet is a significant step in the fight against cybercrime. The botnet was used to support a variety of criminal activities, including hacking, identity theft, and fraud. The arrest of Makinin demonstrates that law enforcement is taking action against cybercriminals who use botnets to harm others.
The IPStorm botnet case is a reminder of the importance of cybersecurity. Businesses and individuals should take steps to protect their devices from malware and other online threats. They should also be aware of the risks of using proxy services, as these services can be used to hide malicious activity.
- The IPStorm botnet was first discovered in 2019.
- The botnet targeted Windows, Linux, Mac, and Android devices.
- The botnet was used to support a variety of criminal activities.
- The FBI operation dismantled the botnet in 2023.
- Makinin pled guilty to three counts of violating 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A).
Overall, the IPStorm botnet case is a positive development in the fight against cybercrime. The takedown of the botnet and the arrest of Makinin send a strong message to cybercriminals that they will be held accountable for their actions.