FBI cracks down on botnets

We can all sleep better at night knowing that the FBI is keeping our computers safe. On Wednesday, the FBI announced it had found over one million computers infected by botnets, or networks of "zombie" machines, reports Wired News.

We can all sleep better at night knowing that the FBI is keeping our computers safe. On Wednesday, the FBI announced it had found over one million computers infected by botnets, or networks of "zombie" machines, reports Wired News.

Although it sounds like a 1950s sci-fi movie, zombie networks are controlled by criminals who create havoc by instituting denial-of-service attacks, identity theft, phishing and other online crimes.

So far, three people have been arrested in the FBI's "Operation Bot Roast." The FBI says it's putting a lot of effort into fighting botnet crime and is trying to educate the public about keeping computers secure. Here's the official FBI warning (from the agency's press release):

“The majority of victims are not even aware that their computer has been compromised or their personal information exploited,” said FBI Assistant Director for the Cyber Division James Finch. “An attacker gains control by infecting the computer with a virus or other malicious code and the computer continues to operate normally. Citizens can protect themselves from botnets and the associated schemes by practicing strong computer security habits to reduce the risk that your computer will be compromised.”

They have their job cut out for them. Cybercrime is growing exponentially and can operate anywhere in the world. The bureau has agents on site in 60 different countries and has deployed agents in countries such as Romania to specifically work cybercrime cases, the FBI's Shawn Henry said.

The three arrested are:

  • James C. Brewer of Arlington, Texas, is alleged to have operated a botnet that infected Chicago area hospitals. This botnet infected tens of thousands of computers worldwide.
  • Jason Michael Downey of Covington, Kentucky, is charged with an Information with using botnets to send a high volume of traffic to intended recipients to cause damage by impairing the availability of such systems.
  • Robert Alan Soloway of Seattle, Washington, is alleged to have used a large botnet network and spammed tens of millions of unsolicited email messages to advertise his website from which he offered services and products. (FBI Seattle)

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