Microsoft, In Collaboration With Authorities, Takes Down Zeus Botnets

Zeus malware has been a particularly nefarious one in that it has been used to steal a whooping $100 million from the users by fooling them into fake web pages and then stealing their financial information. Microsoft and its partners had filed a plea to take down computers acting as botnets for Zeus malware and after the District Court gave them the permission, they took down the command-and-control Zeus servers.

The plea was actually filed against certain hackers who we know only by their cyber nicknames. These include zebra7753, iceIX, Slavik and others. In the raid, Microsoft personnel were accompanied with U.S. Marshals, which shows the extent to which the authorities are involved and are serious about it.

According to the court order, ‘The United States Marshals and their deputies shall be accompanied by plaintiffs’ attorneys and forensic experts a the foregoing described seizure, to assist with identifying, inventorying, taking possession of, and isolating defendant’s’ computer resources, command and control software, and other software components that are seized.’

Zeus malwares have been used since quite some time to particularly target the financial information of users and then used that to steal money from them. Microsoft has been working against such malware but an operation of this kind is a first from the company. The official word from Microsoft read, ‘Due to the unique complexity of these particular targets, unlike our prior botnet takedown operations, the goal here was not the permanent shutdown of all impacted targets. Rather, our goal was a strategic disruption of operations to mitigate the threat in order to cause long-term damage to the cybercriminal organization that relies on these botnets for illicit gain.’

Image courtesy Jose.


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