FBI and Microsoft join hand in cleanup of GameOver Zeus botnet

Zeus (also known as Zbot) is an infamously known botnet that infects the computers running under various versions of the Microsoft Windows OS. Now, yet another variant from the family of Zeus malware is making big news and this variant is known as ‘GameOver Zeus’.

As per the report generated by Microsoft Security Intelligence, GameOver Zeus botnet is a highly dominant password-stealing Trojan; just like the original Zeus botnet. But the good news is that, Microsoft, along with the FBI and Industry partners, has successfully removed malware and the infected computers are discarded so that those cannot be used for causing any harm. This cleanup of GameOver botnet was the resultant of the multi-national action that was taken against this botnet.

GameOver Zeus botnet is considered to be the “most active banking Trojan” of the year 2013, as per the Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit reports. But unfortunately, this botnet does not stop at financial sector. The Trojan has impacted most of the major public sector organizations and businesses. As per FBI’s investigation report, more than $100 million have been lost due GameOver Zeus botnet. The botnet’s impact was so huge that it has infected nearly 500,000 to 1 million computers across the world.

Microsoft mentions about this multi-national action that,

This is the second botnet operation by Microsoft since the Nov. 13 unveiling of the new Microsoft Cybercrime Center, a center of excellence for advancing the global fight against cybercrime – and marks Microsoft’s ninth involvement in a botnet operation. Similar to Microsoft’s December 2013 ZeroAccess botnet case, GameOver Zeus is part of a cooperative effort with industry partners and law enforcement to take out cybercriminal networks to ensure that people worldwide can use their computing devices and services with confidence.

GameOver Zeus botnet

What is a Botnet? Botnets are networks of compromised computers, controlled by remote attackers in order to perform such illicit tasks as sending spam or attacking other computers. This GameOver Zeus botnet spreads through drive-by downloads. In this, users are often directed to the websites that are created by cybercriminals to download malware if the computer is unprotected. Sometimes, the malware is distributed through emails which look like a legitimate communication from well-known and trustable organizations and businesses. If the users click on the link mentioned in such malicious emails, GameOver Zeus malware is deployed onto the user’s computer. The major threat caused by GameOver botnet is that it starts remembering the key hits when the user of the infected computer types into the Web browser; most commonalty the username and password.

The cleanup of GameOver Zeus botnet successfully disrupted cybercriminals’ business model. In order to prevent further harm, victims of this botnet will continue to receive notifications about the malware. And then their infected computers will be cleaned. It seems that the users worldwide will be able to say that this botnet’s Game’s Over!

Have a look at these Botnet Removal Tools.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com and a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows for the period 2006-16. He enjoys following and reporting Microsoft news and developments in the world of Personal Computing & Social Media.