Microsoft and the feds bust Zeus (the botnet not the Greek god)
Microsoft employees, accompanied by federal agents with warrants in hand, raided a building in Pennsylvania and another in Illinois, seized evidence, and shut down servers. The facilities are suspected hubs in an enormous botnet, which is when a bad guy takes control of a large number of computers and turns them into slaves, unbeknownst to the owners. Microsoft and federal agents seized hundreds of web addresses said to be used in the operation.
The defendants allegedly installed the Zeus malware and close relatives called Ice-IX and SpyEye onto victims’ computers, according to a lawsuit filed against the alleged Zeus botnet creators and operators last week. The botnet operators used the software to show fake or modified Web sites when victims tried to use real banking sites, log their keystrokes to capture victims’ identity information, and then use that information to steal money from victims’ accounts.
To take down the operation, Microsoft also took over Internet traffic that had been used to operate 3,357 botnets, according to the court’s temporary restraining order.
Microsoft’s operation with the government is headed up by Richard Boscovich, a lawyer for Microsoft and a former federal prosecutor.
If this sounds a little familiar, that’s because it’s not the first time it’s happened. Here’s our story on a similar raid in October 2010. And that means the problem is likely far from being solved.
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