Microsoft has orchestrated the bust-up of another top-tier botnet operation.
These bad guys – operators of the sprawling Citadel botnet — make the fictional band of sophisticated thieves from the movie Ocean’s 11 look like amateurs. Authorities estimate they’ve scored more than $500 million from banks in the United States and abroad by accessing online accounts and rerouting funds.
The software giant and the FBI, working with law enforcement and tech officials from some 80 countries, knocked out 1,000 of 1,400 of the Citadel botnets.
A botnet is a collection of hundreds to thousands of infected PCs that respond to commands routed through a command-and-control server, which is also an infected PC.
The bad guys running Citadel commanded as many as 5 million infected PCs, making Citadel one of the biggest botnet operations. Botnets are the engins that drive cybercrime. They fuel spam, denial of service attacks and cyberespionage. And they are used in big operations, like Citadel, to systematically hijack online financial accounts. Read More
Every second, 18 people fall victim to cybercrime, and the U.S. is shelling out $21 billion a year to stop that.
According to the most recent Norton Cybercrime Report, the $110 billion global price tag of consumer cybercrime is equal to the amount of money Americans spent annually on fast food.
Based on data collected last year from 13,018 online adults ages 18 to 64 in 24 countries, antivirus firm Norton reported that two out of every three Internet users have been victimized at some point in their lifetime. On a grander scale, almost half of all online adults have been attacked by malware, viruses, hacking, scams, fraud, or theft.
But, as consumers go mobile, so do cybercriminals. Two out of three adults use a mobile device to access the Internet, which has led to the number of mobile-based vulnerabilities to double since 2010.
According to the Norton report, a majority of Internet users are concerned that cybercriminals are now setting their sights on social networks, which, based on data, might not be such a crazy idea. In 2011, four out of 10 social network users were the victim of social networking platform hacks.
Mobile users don’t have to live a life of fear, though. Norton suggested that cybercrime can be prevented, if people know how to handle their mobile devices.
According to the survey, 35 percent of adults have lost their phone or tablet, or had it stolen, and when two-thirds of people don’t set any sort of security solution on their device, it’s not hard for anyone to wiggle their way in.
A whopping 44 percent of people aren’t even aware, Norton said, that security for mobile devices exists.
It’s not only a matter of safeguarding your cell phone, but for those two-thirds of people surfing unsecure or public Wi-Fi networks, it could mean open access to personal emails, social networks, online shopping, or bank accounts. Read More