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Cybercrime – Interpol shutdown nearly 9,000 C&C servers in Asia hacked with a WordPress plug exploit

An investigation conducted by the Interpol resulted in the identification of nearly 9,000 command and control servers located in Asia.
The law enforcement body operated with the support of private partners, including Kaspersky Lab, Cyber Defense Institute, Booz Allen Hamilton, British Telecom, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks, and the China.
According to the Interpol, the investigators also spotted a number of servers operated by local governments that have been compromised and used as command and control systems for botnets.
Law enforcement shut down 9,000 C&C servers across “hundreds” of compromised Websites in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
“An INTERPOL-led operation targeting cybercrime across the ASEAN region has resulted in the identification of nearly 9,000 Command and Control (C2) servers and hundreds of compromised websites, including government portals.” reads the announcement published by the Interpol.
“Information provided by the private sector combined with cyber issues flagged by the participating countries enabled specialists from INTERPOL’s Cyber Fusion Centre to produce 23 Cyber Activity Reports. The reports highlighted the various threats and types of criminal activity which had been identified and outlined the recommended action to be taken by the national authorities.”
The experts involved in the investigation have discovered servers used in ransomware-based campaigns, DDoS attacks, and spam distribution.
It is interesting to note that most of the compromised servers have been hacked using an unnamed WordPress plugin exploit.
“Analysis identified nearly 270 websites infected with a malware code which exploited a vulnerability in the website design application. Among them were several government websites which may have contained personal data of their citizens.” continues the Interpol, who also confirmed to have identified a number of phishing website operators. 
“A number of phishing website operators were also identified, including one with links to Nigeria, with further investigations into other suspects still ongoing. One criminal based in Indonesia selling phishing kits via theDarknet had posted YouTube videos showing customers how to use the illicit software.”

“With direct access to the information, expertise and capabilities of the private sector and specialists from theCyber Fusion Centre, participants were able to fully appreciate the scale and scope of cybercrime actors across the region and in their countries,” said IGCI Executive Director Noboru Nakatani.
“Sharing intelligence was the basis of the success of this operation, and such cooperation is vital for long-termeffectiveness in managing cooperation networks for both future operations and day to day activity in combating cybercrime,”.