1st ever anti-spam warrant takes down Toronto botnet server

A Toronto-based malware server controlling an international network of infected computers has been taking down with the help of the CRTC's first ever warrant under the federal government's anti-spam legislation.

CRTC, RCMP target command-and-control centre for Win32/Dorkbot malware

The CRTC said the Toronto server acted as a command-and-control point for the Win32/Dorkbot malware, a family of related computer worms that spread through USB keys and instant messenging services and can steal usernames and passwords by watching your online activity. (Eugenio Marongiu/Shutterstock)

The CRTC has issued its first warrant under the federal government's anti-spam legislation to take down a Toronto-based malware server in an attempt to disrupt an international network of infected computers.

The move was part of a co-ordinated effort between Canadian authorities, overseas law enforcement including Interpol and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Microsoft Corp.

The CRTC said the Toronto server acted as a command-and-control point for the Win32/Dorkbot malware, a family of related computer worms that spread through USB keys and instant messenging services and can steal usernames and passwords by watching your online activity.

A computer infected with Dorkbot can also download other malware and compromise a system further, as well as join other computers as part of a network called a "botnet" to attack a targeted server using a technique called a distributed denial of service attack. That involves sending multiple requests that overwhelm the server's capacity to respond, disabling it.

Canada's telecoms regulator gained new powers over the internet when Ottawa's anti-spam legislation came into effect in July 2014.

This is the first time the CRTC has used those powers to take down a server distributing malware on the Internet.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.