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Pirated Windows 7 leads to malware, botnet

Several news outlets (including eWEEK and Washington Post) are reporting on a new piece of malware embedded into pirated copies of Microsoft's Windows 7 for the express purpose of building a botnet.According to researchers at Damballa, the bootleg copies of the new operating system have been posted on torrent sites and was infecting downloaders at a rate of 552 users per hour.
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Written by Ryan Naraine on

Several news outlets (including eWEEK and Washington Post) are reporting on a new piece of malware embedded into pirated copies of Microsoft's Windows 7 for the express purpose of building a botnet.

According to researchers at Damballa, the bootleg copies of the new operating system have been posted on torrent sites and was infecting downloaders at a rate of 552 users per hour.

WaPo's Brian Krebs writes:

Damballa managed to grab control over the server that's contacted by the pirated Windows 7 versions -- codecs.systes.net -- which is how it knows how many new, compromised installations are requesting the malware. As of Monday afternoon, the company had tracked 3,452 compromised systems hitting the site, with a peak of more than 550 new infections per hour on Sunday.

There is evidence that the pirated packages of Windows 7 were released on torrent sites on April 24 and was live for at least 16 days before Damballa killed the command-and-control.   That puts estimates at about 27,000 installs, eWEEK reports.

[ SEE: iBotnet: Researchers find signs of zombie Macs ]

This is the second documented case of a botnet being built with pirated software distributed on the Internet.  Earlier this year, researchers at Symantec discovered a direct link between a malicious file embedded in pirated copies of Apple’s iWork 09 software and what appears to be the first Mac OS X botnet launching denial-of-service attacks.

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