Joint operation takes down botnet
One of the most pernicious threats to cybersecurity is the criminal application of botnets. By infecting a wide network of PC's, often without the user's knowledge, cybercriminals can harness their combined processing power to launch attacks against more valuable targets.
Reuters reported that Symantec and Microsoft, working in conjunction with the United States government were able to shut down a botnet used by a global cybercrime syndicate to swindle millions of dollars. The criminal organization, known as Bamital, infected PCs then uploaded malware that could carry out its operations including recruiting other computers into the botnet, committing identity theft and advertising click fraud. Reportedly, the botnet had infected somewhere between 300,000 and one million PCs.
According to CNBC, data centers in New Jersey and Virginia were raided by technicians and U.S. federal marshals. Officials took the New Jersey server off line and were able to convince the parent company of the Virginia center to shut down a server in Netherlands. Microsoft and Symantec have offered users of the infected PCs free tools to remove any lingering malware.
The two companies began their collaboration to take down Bamital last year, working to get the court order needed to shut down the criminal operation's servers. Industry experts said that, although the takedown of Bamital was a major success, there are still many botnets currently engaged in click fraud enterprises which amass millions of dollars for their operators. Researchers intend to inspect the server data to gather information on these types of cybercrimes.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg in the world of click fraud,” Symantec researcher Vikram Thakur told CNBC.
With many more criminal operations looming in cyberspace, it has become as important as ever to protect data being transferred over the internet. Get your SSL certificate to encrypt transmitted information today.