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Microsoft Leads Raid on Zeus-botnet Command-and-Control Servers

Microsoft employees and US marshals raided office buildings in Pennsylvania and Illinois Friday, taking down command-and-control servers allegedly associated with the notorious Zeus botnet. After gathering evidence, Microsoft deactivated the Web servers that were suspected of being part of the botnet. For months, the company has been building its case against 39 unnamed parties they accuse of operating Zeus. In its civil case, the company accuses them of infecting more than 13 million computers and stealing more than $100 million during the last five years. In what may be a first, Microsoft has employed the US Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, typically used to prosecute organized-crime cases, against those involved. The Zeus malware uses keylogging to access identification information subsequently used to steal money from bank accounts and make online purchases. The malware is sold on the digital black market for between $700 and $15,000. “We don’t expect this action to have wiped out every Zeus botnet operating in the world,” noted Microsoft. “However, together, we have proactively disrupted some of the most harmful botnets, and we expect this effort will significantly impact the cybercriminal underground for quite some time.” Microsoft previously instituted civil actions against three other botnet operations. (The New York Times)(Computerworld)(Microsoft)

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