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FBI Set to Kill Secret-Stealing Russian 'Botnet.' Is Your Computer Infected?

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Seeking to destroy a Russian botnet, the FBI seeks to reach into a million U.S. computers to remove malicious software.

Credit: Newscom

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has seized control of a Russian botnet that commandeered millions of personal computers that may have penetrated U.S. diplomatic, military, and law enforcement computer systems. The FBI says it may have to remove the malware from the computers in the network to permanently neutralize the botnet.

More than 1 million of the 2.3 million PCs recruited in the Coreflood botnet are U.S.-based, and as of 2011 the botnet had assimilated hundreds of thousands of computers belonging to 17 state or local government agencies. The FBI effectively assumed control of Coreflood via insertion of its own command-and-control computers into the network, and its next move is to send a command that will finally destroy the malware. "These actions to mitigate the threat posed by the Coreflood botnet are the first of their kind in the United States and reflect our commitment to being creative and proactive in making the Internet more secure," says the FBI's Shawn Henry.

However, privacy proponents are unsettled by potential ramifications should the action to kill the malware fail. The FBI's chief focus on just one botnet, given the huge presence of other botnets, also is a point of contention.

From The Christian Science Monitor
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Abstracts Copyright © 2011 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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