Google pushes back against a 1 million strong botnet

The Pip Boy from the Fallout series being the benevolent hacker he is
(Image credit: Bethesda)

Cyber security is pretty serious stuff. Malware can be hard to detect, and even harder to get rid of. The control some malware can have over your devices and potentially your life can be absolutely devastating. It's the reason I don't open any forwarded emails from my grandparents, no matter how funny they promise to be.

As well as depriving me of cute animal videos older than time, one of the ways malware can be dangerous is by using multiple devices to form what's known as a botnet. Botnets combine the power of countless user devices to do all sorts of things, be it spread viruses, crypto currency operations, or disruptive services.

Emotet was a very powerful botnet that even rented itself out to other malware to install on your devices that was taken down fairly recently. Trickbot is another notorious botnet Microsoft has been dealing with, which has resurfaced in recent years.

According to Techexplore, a new botnet is on the chopping block, with Google announcing a move to shut down Glupteba. This network of corrupted devices is said to span over one million Windows units and is being used primarily to mine bitcoin. That large number means it could also make for powerful ransomware or DDOS attacks, if they ever get sick of trading crypto.

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One of the methods of spreading Glupteba was through Google's own Google Docs, so it's no surprise the tech giant is taking action. Over 63 million Google Docs and 1,000 Google accounts have been terminated to try to help stop the spread. A lawsuit has also been filed against the bad actors to try to stop further use of Google's platform.

What makes Glupteba particularly tricky is it doesn’t rely on predetermined channels. According to Google’s lawsuit, the malware is programmed to find a replacement server to maintain operations. It’s a scary hive mind of tech, that can sometimes gain thousands of new hijacked devices every day. Though that’s still pretty small numbers compared to the over 500 million users claimed by the new combined Norton and Avast cybersecurity company

Hope Corrigan
Hardware Writer

Hope’s been writing about games for about a decade, starting out way back when on the Australian Nintendo fan site Since then, she’s talked far too much about games and tech for publications such as Techlife, Byteside, IGN, and GameSpot. Of course there’s also here at PC Gamer, where she gets to indulge her inner hardware nerd with news and reviews. You can usually find Hope fawning over some art, tech, or likely a wonderful combination of them both and where relevant she’ll share them with you here. When she’s not writing about the amazing creations of others, she’s working on what she hopes will one day be her own. You can find her fictional chill out ambient far future sci-fi radio show/album/listening experience podcast right here.

No, she’s not kidding.