While news of Microsoft and other technology giants have inundated the news of late due to the PRISM program leak, there were a few other things Microsoft was participating in with the FBI as well. Just recently Microsoft went on an all-out attack against botnets with the company’s Digital Crimes Unit. In all, Microsoft said they were able to take down some 1400 criminal networks.
Microsoft’s all out war on organized cyber-criminals using botnet attacks was done in cooperation with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and many entities in the financial services industry. The FBI helped with legal issues involved that may have burdened the company down, and the support from the federal police agency effectively gave them the power to shut down botnet servers set up in the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
According to a recent statement, the cooperation between the private technology sector and the powerful federal police agency is part of a new and growing trend where public and private entities are combining their skills to tackle on-line crime and identity theft. This cooperation is also to enhance and secure better services in the cloud.
“This coordinated disruption resulted from an extensive investigation that Microsoft and its financial services and technology industry partners began in early 2012,” MS writes in part. “After looking into this threat, Microsoft and its partners discovered that once a computer was infected with Citadel malware, that malware began monitoring and recording a victim’s keystrokes.”
According to MS, the servers’ were infecting computers with Citadel malware, which is a key logger that gave the hackers user’s bank account access information.
MS was able to determine that the cyber-crime operation was headquartered somewhere in Eastern Europe and that there may be nearly 100 others who are actively involved in the operation.
“The harm done by Citadel shows the threat that botnets, malicious software, and piracy pose to individuals and businesses around the world,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel and executive vice president, Legal and Corporate Affairs.
In a recent civil lawsuit, MS lists the hacker leader as “John Doe No. 1” and they also say they will be using the data collected to help Internet service providers find better ways to detect if a customer’s computers are infected with botnet.
MS also vowed to give the public more direct information about cyber threats directly from their Cyber Threat Intelligence Department.