Microsoft, FEDS crack cybercrime ring


Microsoft, FBI and members of the financial services sector say they have disrupted a cyber crime network that is responsible for more than half a billion dollars in fraud.

Microsoft today announced that in collaboration with the American financial industry, and leaders including financial services information sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), NACHA-The electronic payments Association, the American Bankers Association (ABA), a network of over a thousand botnets has been disturbed.

In conjunction with other technology companies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says the Redmond giant investigation team could detect and take down a botnet system that is responsible for stealing people's online banking information and personal identities.

Botnets are compromised computer network when infected with malicious software, can be controlled by cyber criminals and are used to complete tasks including data theft and disruption of online services.

An investigation was launched in 2012 on a malware dubbed Citadel. Citadel, based Zeus source code, in order to steal personal information including banking details and can inject malicious code as ransomware in a compromised computer. Able to record keystrokes, The keylogging activity allows hackers to access online accounts or steal personal identities.

Microsoft found that Citadel is responsible for the loss of more than half a billion dollars in individuals and companies all over the world. Upwards of five million computers affected; with some of the highest number of infections occurring in the United States, Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, and Australia.

Citadel is believed to be present in over 90 countries.

"The harmful effects of Citadel shows the threat of botnets, malware and piracy pose for individuals and businesses around the world," said Brad Smith, Microsoft General Counsel and executive vice President, legal and Corporate Affairs. "Today's coordinated action between the private sector and law enforcement shows the power of the combined legal and technical expertise, and we will continue to work together to help put these cybercriminals bankruptcy."

Giant tech has filed suit against a civilian cyber criminals operating the botnet system, and has also obtained the approval of the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina to cut off communications between 1462 Citadel botnets and infected computers under their control.

"Economic crimes take place through stickups, but today, criminals are using mouse clicks," said Greg Garcia, a consultant and former Department of Homeland Security cyber official. "This measure is aimed at stopping the ongoing damage these Citadel botnets against people and companies all over the world, and you can be sure we will continue to work with the public and private sectors in helping financial institutions protect our customers against threats like this."

Because of the crime ring, Redmond do not expect to completely eliminate all botnets with Citadel, but hope that business will now seriously disturbed.