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10/15/2010
04:16 PM
George V. Hulme
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Microsoft Steps Up To Dethrone Zeus

Microsoft is throwing another punch at this most nasty and extremely active botnet.

Microsoft is throwing another punch at this most nasty and extremely active botnet.Early this month there was a flurry of arrests surrounding a cybercrime gang utilizing the dangerous triad of exploits, botnets, and money mules.

From Feds Bust Zeus Financial Cybercrime Ring earlier this month:

Federal and state authorities announced Thursday that they have charged numerous people in connection with a global cybercrime scheme using the Zeus financial malware toolkit to steal $3 million from U.S. bank accounts. The investigation was dubbed "Operation ACHing Mule," alluding to the attackers' use of Automatic Clearing House fraud, as well as "money mules" to move money.

According to Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., "this advanced cybercrime ring is a disturbing example of organized crime in the twenty-first century -- high-tech and widespread."

To help fight the Zeus botnet, Microsoft has added Zeus detection to its Malicious Software Removal Tool, or MSRT. MSRT is a free anti-malware tool that is released on patch Tuesday and scans most versions of Microsoft Windows for malware to disinfect.

From Microsoft's Malware Protection Center blog, it does seem the software maker is bent on ridding the world of as many Zeus infections as possible:

This family is quite prolific even if the intent behind some of the botnets is unclear. That said, we find ourselves knocking on Zbot's door this month, and we're glad we are. Zbot is the latest addition to MSRT's ever-growing list of malware, and we hope to continue protecting the Windows ecosystem with this new family firmly in our sights.

However, as Dark Reading points out in this post, Zeus isn't the only threat, botnets such as Bugat and Carberp also pose serious threats.

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