The botnet consisted of about 1.5 million compromised computers, 15 times the 100,000 PCs first thought.
Dutch prosecutors who last month
arrested a trio of young men for creating a large botnet allegedly used to extort a U.S. company, steal identities, and distribute spyware now say they bagged bigger prey: a botnet of 1.5 million machines.
According to Wim de Bruin, a spokesman for the Public Prosecution Service (Openbaar Ministerie, or OM), when investigators at GOVCERT.NL, the Netherlands' Computer Emergency Response Team, and several Internet service providers began dismantling the botnet, they discovered it consisted of about 1.5 million compromised computers, 15 times the 100,000 PCs first thought.
The three suspects, ages 19, 22, and 27, were arrested Oct. 6 on charges of threatening a U.S. firm with a denial-of-service (DoS) attack after Amsterdam-based Internet service provider XS4ALL notified authorities of unusual activity on its network. The two younger men are still in custody -- a Breda court just extended their incarceration by 30 days -- but the 27-year-old has been released pending trial, said the OM.
More arrests are likely, de Bruin said, as the investigation continues.
The trio supposedly used the Toxbot Trojan horse to infect the vast number of machines, easily the largest controlled by arrested attackers. But Simon Hania, chief technology officer at XS4ALL, told the Associated Press that even though the botnet was enormous, it was just "a drop in the ocean."
"[These things] destroy the Internet," he said.
We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
2018 State of the CloudCloud adoption is growing, but how are organizations taking advantage of it? Interop ITX and InformationWeek surveyed technology decision-makers to find out, read this report to discover what they had to say!
Infographic: The State of DevOps in 2017Is DevOps helping organizations reduce costs and time-to-market for software releases? What's getting in the way of DevOps adoption? Find out in this InformationWeek and Interop ITX infographic on the state of DevOps in 2017.
The Next Generation of IT SupportThe workforce is changing as businesses become global and technology erodes geographical and physical barriers.IT organizations are critical to enabling this transition and can utilize next-generation tools and strategies to provide world-class support regardless of location, platform or device