GameOver Zeus botnet seized; Two week window to protect yourself, say authorities

GameOver Zeus botnet seized; Two week window to protect yourself, say authorities

Summary: There's a two-week window to protect your Windows PCs from a botnet aiming to swipe credentials.

TOPICS: Security

U.S. authorities---the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice---say they have disrupted the systems of the GameOver Zeus botnet, which allows cybercrooks to steal banking credentials.

The move by authorities means there's a two-week window for enterprises and consumers to protect themselves before a wave of botnets is about to hit. GameOver Zeus (GOZ) operates on a peer-to-peer network that's decentralized and can take over Windows PCs (Windows 95, 98, Me, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8 and Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2008 R2 and 2012).

GOZ typically infects a machine via a phishing attack and other bogus emails.

phishing example
Example of a phishing email. Credit: Dell Secureworks


U.K.'s National Crime Agency put the botnet in simple terms:

Action taken by the NCA to combat the threat will give the UK public a unique, two-week opportunity to rid and safeguard themselves from two distinct but associated forms of malware known as GOZeuS and CryptoLocker.

Members of the public can protect themselves by making sure security software is installed and updated, by running scans and checking that computer operating systems and applications are up to date.

The NCA’s alert is part of one of the largest industry and law enforcement collaborations attempted to date. Activity in several countries, led by the FBI in the US, has weakened the global network of infected computers, meaning that action taken now to strengthen online safety can be particularly effective.

Meanwhile, the NCA reckons that more than 15,500 computers in the UK are already infected.

According to U.S.-CERT, GOZ infected machines can participate in attacks, send spam and swipe user data. To prepare, U.S.-CERT recommended that antivirus software is used and maintained, passwords are changed and patches are updated.


Topic: Security

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  • Typo

    steal, not steak? End of first paragraph.
    • A fruedian slip, most likely

      The Zbot miscreants probably eat steak for both breakfast and dinner.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • actually, just a typo

        Look at the keyboard and one can easily see that the author accidentally hit the "k" instead of the "l" since the two keys are side by side.

        Case closed since the author has since corrected the error.

        But Larry, really. No reread after you first finished typing a text? You must really have been pressed for time.
  • I see

    So they disrupted it how?
  • Protecting yourself is as easy as

    Not clicking on links in any email that claims to be from your bank. When my bank sends me an email telling me my statement is ready I navigate to their website using my browser, not by clicking any embedded links in the email.
    • Great advice

      Convenience and security are inversely related. As businesses make things easier for customers, customers expect ease, which criminals take advantage of.

      That's great advice, and an effective (simple) rule of thumb for family/friends.
  • problem with reread

    you read what you thought you keyed
  • Some Windows statistics please

    Can ZDNET also create a graph/ogive or pie chart to prove their point that Win7 is safer? I bet nobody will, because everybody will laugh at Win7 higher infection rate than XP. Maybe even higher Vista infection than XP, when XP has a higher market share than Vista. When stats will damage the reputation of marketing gimmicks and FUD, the stats won't be released. Funny world we're living in...
    • Windows Statistics Please

      @ chesscodz. I bet you run Nix too? Any FUD seems to come from people like you. I seriously doubt that Win 7 or 8 would have a higher infection rate. It would be younger people running those two mostly. XP is likely still in use by the older generation (my age), but some of us actually upgraded, and have a clue as to what to do.
      • Windows Statistics Please

        Wrong, I don't know Unix/Linux or its derivatives.
        I run windows, but the hype that the newer versions and forcing everybody to upgrade is just false. False advertisement by those marketing people who knew nothing about security. Here's a link for the prove, as posted previously by someone h-t- t- p:// just remove the hyphen for http and see my point. That's an old screenshot of a dashboard which controls thousands of bot, posted last 2012. See that Win7 has many infections with anti-virus installed too... I might be a kid, but I am sure I have built many huge projects in VC++ and also Borland and Intel C compilers, that what you have under your belt.
        • typo "than what you have under your belt.

        • You should try it

          Most sheep stay away from Linux, you should try it, you dont sould like a sheep. You may never go back.
        • Awesome Image

          The snapshot of the botnet dashboard is kickass! Thanks for the share.
  • With Microsoft Windows on x86 and x86_64: U can run, but U can't hide

    Systems Affected by GameOver Zeus (GOZ):
    o Microsoft Windows 95, 98, Me, 2000, XP, Vista, 7 and 8
    o Microsoft Server 2003, Server 2008, Server 2008 R2 and Server 2012

    Source (from the article):

    P.S. Consider installing CryptoPrevent as a protective measure on Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8:
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Maybe it's time

    "Members of the public can protect themselves by making sure security software is installed and updated, by running scans and checking that computer operating systems and applications are up to date."

    . . . or to get a Mac.