Cyber criminals created botnet from 11m infected PCs to send out phishing attacks
A gang of cyber criminals who used Facebook to con people out of £530m have been arrested in an operation launched by the FBI, aided by the social networking site.
Ten people have been arrested, including one at a property in Molesey, Surrey, with the others being taken into custody in the US, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, New Zealand and Peru.
The gang first began targeting Facebook users in October 2010 using variations of a malware called Yahos, which often uses instant messaging and social-networking sites to infect PCs.
They created a botnet out of 11 million hijacked PCs to send out phishing attacks to con people into handing over personal information such as credit and bank account details.
A Yahos infected machine will normally send a message such as "Foto :D (Malware Link here)", or "How does this photo look? (Attached Malware file)". The normal user would pay no attention to the random .exe file extension for example "photo.exe".
The FBI working with other law enforcement agencies including the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency as well as Facebook were able to track down the criminals.
Computer security experts say in order to stay safe people should always check the file extension of each file they get, and if it says it comes from a friend, contact them to make sure they really sent the file.
Updating your subscription status