New TrickBot Control Servers Unable to Respond to Bot Requests

Control servers included in the configuration file of new TrickBot samples fail to respond to bot requests, according to researchers at threat intelligence company Intel 471.

Released in 2016 by the Dyre gang, TrickBot has evolved into one of the most prevalent malware families out there, having ensnared in excess of one million systems to date and being employed by both nation-state and cybercrime actors for malicious operations.

Last week, Microsoft announced that, together with industry partners, it was able to legally take over and disrupt infrastructure used by TrickBot, as well as to block efforts from the its operators to register new infrastructure and revive the botnet.

Days after the announcement, however, Intel 471’s researchers revealed that TrickBot resumed operations, and that Emotet was observed serving TrickBot payloads to infected machines.

CrowdStrike too confirmed that TrickBot was still operational, saying that only approximately 10,000 bots were seen becoming unreachable after being served a non-standard configuration file.

On Tuesday, Intel 471 revealed that, starting Monday, October 19, Emotet has distributed TrickBot samples that include new control servers in their configuration, but that these servers were not able to respond to bot requests.

Most of these controllers, the security firm reveals, are located in the United States and Germany, with some of them based in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, the Netherlands, and Turkmenistan.

“On Oct. 19, 2020, when this latest Trickbot sample was distributed, none of the above listed control servers were able to respond to Trickbot bot requests, a state that continued at the time of this report. Intel 471 believes disruption operations against Trickbot are currently global in nature and have had success against Trickbot infrastructure,” Intel 471 says.

The researchers also note that there are other controllers that do work, and these are located in Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, and Kyrgyzstan. These control servers, however, were not listed in the most recently distributed TrickBot samples.

Related: Ryuk Ransomware Attacks Continue Following TrickBot Takedown Attempt

Related: TrickBot Botnet Survives Takedown Attempt

Related: More Links Found Between North Korean and Russian Hacking Operations

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Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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