Late last year, the Mariposa Working Group (comprised of Defence Intelligence, the Georgia Tech Information Security Center, Panda Security, and other international security experts and law enforcement agencies) worked together to bring down what is considered to be the largest botnet in history. This botnet, called “Mariposa”, wreaked havoc on up to 12,000,000 individual computers since it was first discovered in May 2009.
It was thought that the threat had been eliminated, and with the arrest of the cyber-criminals behind it, Mariposa would finally cease to exist. However, it appears that there may still be Mariposa-infected computers out there. Especially if you can get your computer infected unknowingly just by buying a new smartphone, like the Android-powered HTC Magic that’s being sold by Vodafone in Spain.
An employee of Panda Security first discovered this problem earlier this month, and so far, it is estimated that there are up to 3,000 individual Vodafone smartphones infected with not only the Mariposa botnet client, but the Conficker worm and a Lineage game password stealer as well.
The infection seems to stem from bundled memory cards that have the malware pre-loaded on them for some reason. This must be part of the reason why the Mariposa botnet grew so large and so quickly.
Vodafone is already doing steps to counter the situation by sending affected customers letters with new memory cards and included instructions on how to get rid of the malware on their PCs. If you purchased an HTC Magic or any smartphone from Vodafone in the last six months, be wary.
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