Last week, I examined a series of Web services that make profiting from cyber crime a point-and-click exercise that even the most novice hackers can master. Today, I'd like to highlight the activities of Atrivo, a Concord, Calif., based network provider that hosts some of these services.
Several noted security researchers are releasing a report today that stems from many months of investigating malicious activity emanating from Atrivo's customers. Security experts say that Atrivo, also known as "Intercage," has long been a major source of spyware, adware, viruses and fake anti-virus products.
The report is an exhaustive and well-researched analysis of Atrivo and its operations. Some of the statistics on active exploits cited in that report come from data sets I commissioned during my own investigation of Atrivo and later shared with Jart Armin, the principal author of the report and curator of the blog hostexploit.com.
Looking back several years, Atrivo's various networks were used heavily by the Russian Business Network, an ISP formerly based in St. Petersburg, Russia. RBN had gained notoriety for providing Web hosting services catering exclusively to cyber criminals. But after increased media attention, RBN dispersed its operations to other, less conspicuous corners of the Internet.
The portions of Atrivo most heavily used by RBN were Hostfresh -- which provides routing for Atrivo through Hong Kong and China -- and UkrTeleGroup (also known as Inhoster) out of Ukraine. These two networks remain core components of Atrivo's operation, and recent data suggests the company's reputation for supporting online criminals hasn't diminished since the disappearance of the RBN last year. As of last December, Atrivo boasted the largest concentration of malicious activity of any hosting company, according to a report released by security intelligence firm iDefense.
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Brian Krebs on Computer Security. The Washington Post Company.