Related Topics: botnet, citadel, fbi, malware, microsoft, Security
The Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, working with the FBI and organizations in the financial industry, announced on Wednesday that it has cut off more than a thousand Citadel botnets responsible for stealing online banking information and personal identities of victims in 90 countries around the world.
On Wednesday, Microsoft, escorted by the US Marshals, seized data and evidence from the botnets, including servers from two data hosting facilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The information on the botnets operations was provided to international Computer Emergency Response teams to that they could take action at their discretion for botnets located outside of the US. The malware has the highest rate of infection in the US, Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore, India and Australia.
According to Microsoft, the actions on June 5 were the culmination of an investigation began in early 2012, when Microsoft and its partners discovered that once a computer was infected with Citadel malware, the malware could monitor and record a victim keystrokes. Microsoft says this operation serves as a real world example of how publicprivate partnerships can work effectively within the judicial system. Citadel malware is responsible for more than half a billion dollars in losses worldwide, and has infected more than five million people. Last year, McAfee released a report that predicted Citadel would become the Trojan of choice among cybercriminals, with the release of Citadel Rain, which added functions to the tool.
Last week, Microsoft filed a civil suit against the cybercriminals operating the Citadel botnets. It received the goahead from the US District Court for the Western District of North Carolina to simultaneously cut off communication between 1,462 Citadel botnets and the millions of computers under their control.
"The harm done by Citadel shows the threat that botnets, malicious software, and piracy pose to individuals and businesses around the world," Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel and executive vice president, Legal and Corporate Affairs said in a statement. coordinated action between the private sector and law enforcement demonstrates the power of combined legal and technical expertise and we're going to continue to work together to help put these cybercriminals out of business."
In March 2012, Microsoft raided web hosting facilities in Pennsylvania and Illinois, seizing servers and 800 domain names linked to the Zeus and SpyEye botnets.
What do you think of the efforts that organizations like Microsoft do in stopping botnets? Do you agree with Microsoft that this operation is a good example of how publicprivate partnerships can work in these kinds of instances? Let us know in a comment.
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