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March 28, 2012

To Combat Cyber Attacks, Microsoft and Federal Marshalls Join to Pinpoint Criminals

By Jamie Epstein, TMCnet Web Editor

As security breaches continue to adversely affect multiple enterprises all around the world, employees at computer giant Microsoft (News - Alert), along with federal marshals, have hatched a plan in which they teamed to infiltrate command posts located in Pennsylvania and Illinois that criminals use to power botnets. Botnets refer to multiple, infected computers that are utilized to gain access to both personal and financial information from millions of victims.

And if this collaborative effort wasn’t enough to show cyber criminals what they are doing isn’t right, only days before that a group of cyber security researchers from San Francisco went after a separate botnet that didn’t even require them to leave their offices. The four security firms involved in the takedown included Crowdstrike, Dell (News - Alert) SecureWorks, the Honeynet Project and Kaspersky Labs who did what needed to be done to decrypt and begin to control the Kelihos.b botnet that was leveraging over 100,000 infected computers to send out pharmaceutical spam, as well as steal Bitcoins, a virtual currency that can’t be taken back once it has been discovered.

“We were able to understand how the computers were compromised, what operating systems they ran and the make-up of the botnet,” said Adam Meyers (News - Alert), a threat researcher at Crowdstrike in a statement.

Although not planned in tandem, these efforts to eliminate cyber crime once and for all are showing how those involved in the technology industry are now beginning to take measures into their own hands to halt these types of crimes, without sitting back and waiting for law enforcement authorities to begin their investigation.

For some time now, Microsoft has been busy in an attempt to end this type of catastrophic virtual attacks. In fact, in the last few years it has successfully corrupted four botnets through taking legal action.

As new technology will continuously be introduced to the market, it is unfortunate that some people want to use these solutions for evil rather than good. Too bad for these criminals however, as it appears that some of the good guys are on our side and are fighting for our safety.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin
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