As Spring cracked the Moscow frosts and March rains doused the streets, a computer in an innocuous server farm somewhere in the heart of the city winked to life. It was 2007, a year when many people became truly invested in online life. Twitter was a year old and the most popular smartphone was the Blackberry Curve – a pure email machine. It was a year ripe with promise for cyber-everything. And a group of hackers, unnamed to this day, wanted to grab their piece.
The server first sent a blast of emails containing a link to a piece of software that many around the world wanted to download. Once they grabbed the Trojan Horse, the infected program took over computer after computer, creating something security experts call a botnet – a collection of infected machines controlled by a central command and control unit (CnC).
This Moscow server, hidden behind…
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