Tag Archives: US Department of Justice

US Dismantles Botnet Used For Cyberattacks

The U.S. Justice Department and international partners dismantled the 911 S5 proxy botnet and arrested 35-year-old Chinese national YunHe Wang, its administrator, in Singapore, Bleeping Computer reported.

“Working with our international partners, the FBI conducted a joint, sequenced cyber operation to dismantle the 911 S5 Botnet – likely the world’s largest botnet every,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“We arrested its administrator, Yunhe Wang, seized infrastructure and assets, and levied sanctions against Wang and his co-conspirators.”

As early as 2011, Wang and his conspirators pushed malware onto victims’ devices using multiple malicious VPN applications bundling proxy backdoors. The VPN apps that added compromised devices to the 911 S5 residential proxy service include MaskVPN, DewVPN, PaladinVPN, ProxyGate, ShieldVPN, and ShineVPN.

The U.S. Department of Justice posted a press release:

A court-authorized international law enforcement operation led by the U.S. Justice Department disrupted a botnet used to commit cyber attacks, large-scale fraud, child exploitation, harassment, bomb threats, and export violations.

As part of this operation, YunHe Wang, 35, a People’s Republic of China national and St. Kitts and Nevis citizen-by-investment, was arrested on May 24 on criminal charges arising from his deployment of malware and the creation and operation of a residential proxy service known as “911 S5.”

According to an indictment unsealed on May 24, from 2014 through July 2022, Wang and others are alleged to have created and disseminated malware to compromise and amass a network of millions of residential Windows computers worldwide. These devices were associated with more than 19 million unique IP addresses, including 613,841 IP addresses located in the United States. Wang then generated millions of dollars by offering cybercriminals access to these infected IP addresses for a fee.

“The Justice Department-led operation brought together law enforcement partners from around the globe to disrupt 911-S5, a botnet that facilitated cyber-attacks,” said Attorney General Merck B. Garland. “As a result of this operation, YunHe Wang was arrested on charges that he created and operated the botnet and deployed malware. This case makes clear that the long arm of the law stretches across borders and into the deepest shadows of the dark web, and the Justice Department will never stop fighting to hold cybercriminals to account.”…

ArsTechnica reported the U.S Treasury Department has sanctioned three Chines nationals for their involvement with a VPN-powered botnet with more than 19 million residential IP addresses they rented out to cybercriminals to obfuscate their illegal activities, including COVID-19 scares and bomb threats.

The criminal enterprise, the Treasury Department said Tuesday, was a residential proxy known as 911 S5. Such services provide a bank of IP addresses belonging to everyday home users for customers to route Internet connections through. When accessing a website or other Internet service, the connection appears to originate with the home user.

In my opinion, it is good that the U.S. Department of Justice took action against YunHe Wang and others, and prevented them from engaging in these kinds of shenanigans.