Computer Systems at 2500 Companies Hacked

February 18th, 2010 by admin Leave a reply »
Hacker! 13/365
Image by joshuadelaughter via Flickr

In a high security breach malicious hackers have penetrated into more than 75,000 machines in 2500 companies across the US & rest of the world.. Not only have the breached the security, but also they have obtained access to confidential data from commercial and government entitites across the globe.

According to the security firm, NetWitness, the attacks have compromised the login credentials of over 68,000 accounts revealing the new banking site information. Raising serious eye brows about the type of computer security software, the report mentioned a “dangerous new ZeuS botnet (a malicious programme)”.

Apparently, the Zeus botnet tool kit, allows criminals to infect and remotel control of users’ PCs. The Zeus tool kit can be purchased on the payment of some dollars. Swiss anti-spam activist Roman Hüssy operates the ZeusTracker website, which keeps watch on several Zeus control servers that are used by various gangs of criminals.

Alex Cox, who works at NetWitness & uncovered Kneber said, “When we detected the correlation between the methodology used by the Kneber crew to attack victim machines and the wide variety of data sets harvested, it became clear that security teams must rethink their entire perspective on threats such as Zeus”.

Kneber is described as a command-and-control system botnet based on the ZeuS Trojan and is based on the older version of 1.2 Zeus. First discovered in January, the malicious programme collects login credentials of online financial systems, social networking sites like Facebook & corporate email systems from infested computers and reports the information to miscreants.

NetWitness CEO and former Director of the National Cyber Security Division Amit Yoran said that cyber criminals like the Kneber crew target and compromise thousands of government and commercial organisations globally.

The unaware employees were caught on the backfoot when they downloaded the hacked software from the sites which were administered by the hackers. They were baited into opening emails which contained these infected attachments.

According to Yoran, “Because they’re using multiple bots and very sophisticated command and control methods, once they’re in the system, even if you whack the command and control servers, it’s difficult to rid them of the ability to control the users’ computers” .

According to WSJ, there were many companies hit by this attack including Cardinal Health, located in Dublin, Ohio, and Merck. Once the infected computers were identified they were immediately removed from the network. Also caught were the educational institutions, energy firms, financial companies, internet service providers are even  government agencies were penetrated.

In a statement issued by the security firm, the scope of these attacks scaled across the United States, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and Mexico.

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