FBI: Operation Bot Roast finds over 1 million botnet victims

FBI operation identifies over 1 million botnet crime victims

The Department of Justice and FBI Wednesday said ongoing investigations have identified more than 1 million botnet crime victims.

The FBI is working with industry partners, including the Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center at Carnegie Mellon University, to notify the victim owners of the computers. Microsoft and the Botnet Task Force have also helped out the FBI. Through this process the FBI may uncover additional incidents in which botnets have been used to facilitate other criminal activity, the FBI said in a statement.

The FBI and Justice Department have an ongoing cyber crime initiative to disrupt and dismantle bot-herders known as Operation Bot Roast. To date, the project has nabbed:

- James C. Brewer of Arlington, Texas, is alleged to have operated a botnet that infected Chicago area hospitals. This botnet infected tens of thousands of computers worldwide.

- Jason Michael Downey of Covington, Ken., is charged with using botnets to send a high volume of traffic to intended recipients to cause damage by impairing the availability of such systems.

- Robert Alan Soloway of Seattle or the Spam King, is alleged to have used a large botnet network and spammed tens of millions of unsolicited email messages to advertise his website from which he offered services and products.

Bots are widely recognized as one of the top scourges of the industry. Gartner predicts that by year-end 75 percent of enterprises "will be infected with undetected, financially motivated, targeted malware that evaded traditional perimeter and host defenses," and early reports from beta customers of a yet to be released product from Mi5 show how nefarious these infections can be. Mi5 says it installed a Web security beta product at an organization with 12,000 nodes and in one month detected 22 active bots, 123 inactive bots and was watching another 313 suspected bots. That may not sound like a lot, but those bots were responsible for 136 million bot-related incidents, such as scanning for other hosts inside the firewall.

Google researchers recently said at least one in 10 Web pages is booby-trapped with malware. Google's Ghost in the Browser study looked at more than 4.5 million Web pages, and found that 10 percent of them were capable of activating malicious codes and 16 percent were suspected to contain codes that might be a threat to computers.

Most owners of the compromised computers are unknowing and unwitting victims. They have unintentionally allowed unauthorized access and use of their computers as a vehicle to facilitate other crimes, such as identity theft, denial-of-service attacks, phishing, click fraud, and the mass distribution of spam and spyware. Because of their widely distributed capabilities, botnets are a growing threat to national security, the national information infrastructure and the economy, the FBI said

"The majority of victims are not even aware that their computer has been compromised or their personal information exploited," said FBI Assistant Director for the Cyber Division James Finch. "An attacker gains control by infecting the computer with a virus or other malicious code and the computer continues to operate normally. Citizens can protect themselves from botnets and the associated schemes by practicing strong computer security habits to reduce the risk that your computer will be compromised."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Cooney

Network World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?