MANILA, Philippines - Microsoft and Symantec recently joined forces to disrupt a global cybercrime ring. They did so by shutting down servers that controlled hundreds of thousands of computers without the user's knowledge, also known as "botnet."
Reuters reports how technicians working on behalf of the two companies and US federal marshals raided data centers in Weehawken, New Jersey, and Manassas, Virginia on Wednesday, February 6. The raid was done under an order made by the US district court in Alexandria, Virginia.
According to Richard Boscovich, assistant general counsel with Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit, the group took control of a server at the New Jersey facility and got the operators of the data center in Virginia to take down a server situated at the parent company in the Netherlands.
What was supposedly taken down was the Bamital botnet, a 300,000 to one million-strong network of enslaved computers currently infected with malicious software.
The Bamital botnet operation hijacked search results, fraudulently charged businesses with online advertisement clicks, and could also have been used to conduct more malicious crimes, such as identity theft attempts. Due to the shutdown of those servers, Reuters reports that "users of infected PCs will be directed to a site informing them that their machines are infected with malicious software when they attempt to search the web."
Researchers from the two companies will work with the confiscated systems to determine how large the operation is, as well as how their click fraud crimes operate. - Rappler.com