FBI arrests 10 over Facebook botnet scam
International authorities have arrested 10 people accused of operating a network of infected computers in order to steal personal information from millions of victims. As reported by the New York Times, those arrested came from Bosnia, Herzegovina, Britain, Croatia, Macedonia, New Zealand, Peru and the United States.
While botnets are hardly new, what was different about the Butterfly botnet--allegedly operated by those arrested--is how it made use of social networks to spread. In this instance, the malware would hijack users' accounts and post links on their friends' Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) pages--who are more likely to click on the links and download the software.
These suspicious activities generated by the botnet were picked up by threat researchers working at Facebook, who reverse-engineered the software to understand how it worked. When the scale of the problem became evident, Facebook contacted law enforcement to escalate the matter.
Two of the 10 arrested are the original authors of the malware, which greatly increases the chance that this particular botnet will be shut down for good. Users concerned about being infected could check their computers at on.fb.me/infectedMSE, says Facebook.
The Justice Department says that variants of such software have resulted in an estimated 11 million computers being infected, with overall losses pegged at $850 million.
- check out this article at New York Times