GoldBrute is a botnet, and attackers behind it can use it gain access to vulnerable operating systems. A botnets is a network of infected machines, which are known as bots, and the more bots there are, the more powerful the attackers can be. While some botnets are used solely for the purpose of spreading malware, others can use all bots collectively to perform DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks against servers and networks. This can compromise websites, systems, and networks to mess with their functions. For example, a website under attack can become inaccessible. A company network under attack can lead to halted production processes. The larger the attack, the costlier the fix is as well. Needless to say, we all want to avoid mass attacks, and none of us wants our computers to be used for that. Hopefully, you do not need to suffer the consequences of a DDoS attack, but if you discover that you need to remove GoldBrute, you should take care of it ASAP.
The devious GoldBrute is not a unique botnet is any way; however, it is quite prominent. In fact, some researchers believe that it could be brute-forcing 1.5 million unique RDP (remote desktop protocol) servers, and it also keeps growing with new bots added to the network constantly. The botnet is believed to be controlled via one C&C (command and control) server, whose IP address is 126.96.36.199. Using port 8333, this C&C server communicates with all bots. So, how does a normal, malware-free computer become a bot? To put it simply, a malicious file is downloaded and executed. It is most likely to be a DLL file named bitcoin.dll, and, of course, the name is meant to confuse the victim. This malicious file could be attached to a malicious downloader, and it could be dropped onto your computer without your notice. Once the file is executed, and the bot code is downloaded, the infected machine is instructed to scan the web for vulnerable RDP servers. As soon as a certain amount of IP addresses are collected, the C&C server instructs to brute-force them. This means that GoldBrute attempts random host, password, and username combinations to gain access to other vulnerable systems.
Once a new machine is infected, it starts brute-forcing RDP servers using random host, password, and username combinations right away. This cycle is never-ending, and that is why GoldBrute has grown into a botnet that is so big. While it continues to expand, we can only guess what the botnet would be used for in the future. According to our malware experts, it is likely that GoldBrute could be used for massive DDoS attacks like most botnets, but it could also be exploited for mass spam email attacks or to inject miners. Ultimately, even if the botnet itself is not used in a mass-attack kind of fashion, the breached RDP servers are left vulnerable by it, and remote attackers could easily access any of them to drop malicious infections and take control of the systems. Did you know that exposed RDP servers and spam emails are often exploited by ransomware infections? If Hermes666 Ransomware, Q1G Ransomware, Plague17 Ransomware, or any other similar threat invades your operating system, all personal files could be encrypted, and you might be unable to recover them even after fulfilling the demands of cybercriminals.
Without a doubt, deleting GoldBrute is a priority if this infection was discovered on your operating system, but you cannot rest after you remove it. If the infection got in, RDP must have been breached. This could have happened if you used a very generic password and username combination; something like admin and password123. You need to change this data immediately because even if you remove GoldBrute, the attackers could still access your operating system via RDP. Once you change the password and username to something that bots could not brute-force, you also need to think about disabling RDP. After all, if you are not using it, it can become a gateway for malware. When it comes to the botnet, you should be able to get rid of it by deleting the malicious DLL file. Hopefully, you can find and remove it yourself, but if you cannot, do not hesitate to install automated anti-malware software. This is what you should do anyway because you need reliable, full-time Windows protection.