Botnet hacker made $17,000 a day

Trend Micro has uncovered just how far one cyber criminal’s reach went. A man in his 20s, somewhere in Russia, used a slew of criminal toolkits to earn money attacking over 90 countries and pocketing $3.2 million in just six months.

Trend Micro believes Soldier used a network of money mules and had an accomplice residing in the states. Together, just since January 2011, the hacker was making $17,000 dollars a day.

Writing from the Trend Micro bog, threat researcher Loucif Kharouni outlines the antics of a hacker who goes by the name of Soldier. He used SpyEye and ZeuS binaries and blackhat SEO on his rampage across the web.

Soldier allegedly  traded in traffic with other criminals on the web, using malware to pinch money from countless accounts, with a large majority in the US, as well as thieving security credentials. It wasn’t only grandma opening a dodgy attachment that got hit by the worm – high security institutions and US corporations were among those hit.

Overall, Soldier managed to infect roughly 25,394 systems between late April and June. It will be good for Microsoft’s PR push in getting users to upgrade – the majority of the victims were running Windows XP on their machines.  About 4,500 Windows 7 PCs took the hit as well, according to Trend Micro.

The company is keeping the investigation open and is trying to figure out how to notify victims.