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Microsoft and the Feds hit Citadel Botnets

by on06 June 2013

Action in 80 countries

Microsoft and the FBI have launched a major assault on one of the world's biggest cyber crime rings.

The outfit runs the Citadel Botnets and is believed to have stolen more than $500 million from bank accounts over the past 18 months. Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit took down at least 1,000 of an estimated 1,400 malicious computer networks known as the Citadel Botnets.

Citadel was found on five million PCs around the world and, according to Microsoft. It was used to steal from American Express, Bank of America, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, eBay's PayPal, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Royal Bank of Canada and Wells Fargo. So far no one is certain of the identities of the owners of the botnet, but Microsoft hopes that taking their toys off them will really harm the crime ring’s business plan.

Citadel is one of the biggest botnets in operation today. Microsoft said its creator bundled the software with pirated versions of Windows, and used it to control PCs in the United States, Western Europe, Hong Kong, India and Australia. The FBI is working closely with Europol and other overseas authorities to try to capture the unknown criminals and it has obtained search warrants as part of what it dubbed a "fairly advanced" criminal probe.

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