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Cybercrooks are attempting to turn the tables on security researchers by setting up fake interfaces on their botnets in a bid to confuse and confound analysis.
The fake honeypot tactic was brought into play by a group using a variant of the infamous Zeus crimeware toolkit. The unknown miscreants targeted quarterly federal taxpayers with fake emails that sought to trick prospective marks into visiting a website loaded with exploits on the pretext that there had been a problem with their tax returns. If successful, the attack resulted in the infection of PCs with variants of ZeuS primarily designed to capture and extract bank login details.
In between waiting for the drop of confidential IDs from compromised machines, the crackers set up a trap for researchers. A bogus administrative panel hands out counterfeit statistics on the number of ZeuS-infected machines, as well as the ability to upload new bot malware, a feature designed to hoodwink security researchers or rival botnet operators.
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