A team of Australian Federal Police officers is working with the FBI to shut down hundreds of PC’s in Australia that have been high jacked by European cyber criminals. We have also been told that several Australian banks are co-operating with the AFP.
At this stage it is not known how much has been stolen in Australia by the hijackers who have managed to install a key logging program on millions of home and business computers around the world.
Microsoft is currently working with investigators to closedown what is being called the Citadel network.
SmartHouse has been told that up to $25M could have been stolen using computers in Australia, authorities have this week closed down 1,000 of 1,400 PC’s containing the illegal software.
To date more than $500m has been stolen by the cybercriminals who have managed to load their software onto PC’s in up to 80 Countries.
Microsoft is currently working with several users to help them clean up infected computers.
The FBI has still not been able to track down the servers that control the main botnet’s.
“The bad guys will feel the punch in the gut,” Richard Boscovich, a spokesman for Microsoft’s digital crimes unit said.
Using the key logging software criminals are able to log into bank accounts using usernames and passwords.
In a blog detailing its action, Microsoft said that the Citadel group had grown because malicious code that could take over a PC had been bundled in with pirated versions of Windows OS software bought in Countries like Bali or Thailand or at local markets in Australia.
Microsoft has started a “John Doe” lawsuit against the anonymous controller who uses the nickname Aquabox. He is believed to be based in Eastern Europe.
Machines compromised by Citadel are being blocked from getting security updates to ensure those computers stayed part of the illegal botnet.