March 26th, 2012, 18:34 PM
Microsoft moves to disable Zeus botnet
A global operation has been undertaken to disable a number of botnets believed to be responsible for the theft of millions of pounds, Microsoft has said.
The company is working in collaboration with financial services to disable botnets powered by Zeus malware.
Microsoft described the action as its "most complex effort to disrupt botnets to date".
However, security company Sophos Labs said it had not seen any "significant disruption" to the illegal network.
Senior attorney for Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit Richard Boscovich gave details of the operation in a blog post.
"Cybercriminals have built hundreds of botnets using variants of Zeus malware," he wrote.
"For this action - codenamed Operation b71 - we focused on botnets using Zeus, SpyEye and Ice-IX variants of the Zeus family of malware, known to cause the most public harm and which experts believe are responsible for nearly half a billion dollars in damages."
He added that due to the "unique complexity" of the targets, the company's goal was not to take down the botnet completely - but instead to implement "strategic disruption".