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August 4, 2010

Fraudsters target UK with Zeus version 2 botnet

by Gill Montia

Story link: Fraudsters target UK with Zeus version 2 botnet

A US-based company that provides secure browsing services says it has uncovered a large Zeus version 2 botnet, which is being used to conduct financial fraud in the UK.

According to Trusteer, the software is operated from Eastern Europe and appears to be controlling more than 100,000 infected computers, 98% of which belong to UK Internet users.

It enables criminals to obtain all manner of credentials, including online banking logins, credit and debit card numbers and account types plus balances.

Trusteer discovered the extent of the botnet after gaining access to its drop servers and is now sharing the information with UK authorities.

The firm’s chief technology officer, Amit Kein, says: “What is especially worrying is that this botnet doesn’t just stop at user IDs and passwords.”

He adds: “By harvesting client side certificates and cookies, the cybercriminals can extract a lot of extra information on the user that can be used to augment their illegal access to those users’ online accounts.”

Mr Klein describes the malicious software as “a fraudster’s ultimate paradise”.

Trusteer chief executive officer, Mickey Boodaei, comments: “It’s important to realize that, despite its size, this is just one of many Zeus botnets operating all over the world.”

Adding: “Its size and controllable actions are a clear demonstration of the increasing sophistication of cybercriminal gangs and how they can harness the power of drive-by downloads, spam and general phishing trawls to create such a large swarm.”


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