Cybercrime bust frees 4.7m infected PCs

Comment on this story


iol scitech nov 14 computer virus

REUTERS

The Epic project has been used since at least 2012, with the highest volume of activity observed in January-February 2014.

Boston - Microsoft said it has freed at least 4.7 million infected personal computers from control of cyber crooks in its most successful digital crime-busting operation, which interrupted service at an Internet-services firm last week.

The world's largest software maker has also identified at least another 4.7 million infected machines, though many are likely still controlled by cyber fraudsters, Microsoft's cybercrime-fighting Digital Crimes Unit said on Thursday.

India, followed by Pakistan, Egypt, Brazil, Algeria and Mexico have the largest number of infected machines, in the first high-profile case involving malware developed outside Eastern Europe.

Richard Domingues Boscovich, assistant general counsel of the unit, said Microsoft would quickly provide government authorities and Internet service providers around the world with the IP addresses of infected machines so they can help users remove the viruses.

“Those victims are currently not aware they are infected,” Boscovich said in an interview.

The operation is the most successful of the 10 launched to date by Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit, based on the number of infected machines identified, Boscovich said.

Microsoft located the compromised PCs by intercepting traffic headed to servers at Reno, Nevada-based Vitalwerks Internet Solutions, which the software maker said criminals used to communicate with compromised PCs through free accounts on its No-IP.com services.

Vitalwerks criticised the way Microsoft handled the operation, saying some 1.8 million of its users lost service for several days. The Internet services firm said that it would have been glad to help Microsoft, without interrupting service to legitimate users.

Microsoft has apologised, blaming “a technical error” for the disruption, saying service to customers has been restored.

The operation, which began on June 30 under a federal court order, targeted malicious software known as Bladabindi and Jenxcus, which Microsoft said work in similar ways and were written and distributed by developers in Kuwait and Algeria. - Reuters

Hungry for more scitech news? Sign up for our daily newsletter


sign up
 
 

Comment Guidelines



  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

     

Join us on

IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks