Massive 2 million PCs botnet uncovered

Government and corporate computers were infiltrated by hackers

One of the largest botnets ever to be discovered has infected 1.9 million computers around the world, including corporate and government machines, according to a security firm.

Finjan's Malicious Code Research Center (MCRC) uncovered the huge botnet when researching command and control servers operated by cybercriminals. It is reportedly at least four times larger than botnets that have been discovered in the past, which have tended to include 200,000 to 500,000 computers.

Britain's Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU) and the FBI are working to hunt down the hackers responsible for the botnet, according to Finjan.

A cyber gang made up of six criminals based in the Ukraine are believed to be responsible for the giant network of remotely-controlled PCs.

In the UK alone, more than 500 companies were caught in the network of infected machines, including several PCs inside six UK government bodies. In total, 77 government-owned domains from around the world, at both federal and local government level, were infiltrated.

The malware spreads when victims visit compromised websites. Then hackers can remotely control the malware to execute almost any command on the end-user computer as they see fit, such as: reading emails, copying files, recording keystrokes, sending spam, making screenshots, Finjan claims.

The security firm said it has contacted affected corporate and government agencies to let them know that they were part of the infected computer names.Yuval Ben-Itzhak, chief technology officer of Finjan, said: "The sophistication of the malware and the staggering amount of infected computers proves that cybergangs are raising the bar."

According to Finjan, 78 percent of infected computers were running Internet Explorer, 15 percent were using the Firefox Web browser and the remaining were using Opera, Safari and other browsers.

Almost half (45%) of the infected computers were in the US. Six percent of the botnet computers were in the UK.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags botnets

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Siobhan Chapman

Computerworld UK
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?