Microsoft Frees 2 Million PCs From Citadel Botnet
According to Microsoft, the actions it took against the world’s biggest cyber-crime rings (the Citadel botnet) freed at least 2 million PCs infected with the virus. It is believed that the Citadel Botnet was used to steal more than $US500 million from bank accounts worldwide.
The information comes from Microsoft Digital Crime Unit’s Assistant General Counsel Richard Domingues Boscovich in an interview earlier this evening. Said Boscovich, “We definitely have liberated at least 2 million PCs globally. That is a conservative estimate. We feel confident that we really got most of the ones that we were after. It was a very, very successful disruptive action.”
The botnets, which were run from “command and control” servers at data hosting centers around the world, were used to steal from hundreds of financial institutions, according to court documents that Microsoft filed to get permission to shut down servers in the United States that were being used to run the operation.
Data center operators typically are not aware that their servers are being used to run botnets.
Among the PCs liberated, the majority were located in the US, Hong Kong, and throughout Europe. The take down process worked by severing the Citadel networks from the infected machines, with a total of 1,400 networks being successfully pulled. Those responsible for leading the networks, however, one of which is known as “Aquabox”, were not captured, and have not been identified.
Though the chief botnet organizer is still on the loose and many machines are still burdened by Citadel, Domingues Boscovich says they “feel confident that we really got most of the ones that we were after.”