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FBI and Microsoft take down botnet network

Microsoft and the FBI have taken down a criminal network which was responsible for more than $500 million in bank fraud.

Microsoft and the FBI said that they, together with a group of financial services had’ disrupted’ more than 1,000 botnets. The organisations have yet to identify the source of the networking attacks. The ‘Citadel’ network is a ‘crimekit’ for sending viruses, stealing passwords, managing botnets and will allow the criminals to access social networking profiles, bank accounts. Around 1,400 botnets have been created y the Citadel malware which seemed to have started in 2012.

Microsoft said that the Citadel kit could be bought from underground websites for around $2,400. More than 5 million people have been affected by the malware code across 90 countries.


This is the second time Microsoft have worked with the financial services industry to take down criminal networks.

FT.com add “A court ruling on the case – documents for which were posted online in English and Russian – authorised Microsoft to seize some of the botnets’ servers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and to pass information to foreign law enforcement agencies.The legal documents showed the online pseudonyms and purported contact information for 81 “John Doe” defendants. Many of the alleged criminals are based in the US and Russia, while others are in Europe, Brazil, China and Australia.

According to the legal filings, these individuals allegedly maintained the Citadel system, providing each other with “support with technical problems and best practices in deploying, running and defending their Citadel botnets”.

The originator of Citadel, whose identity remains unknown, even operated a “customer relationship management tool”, through which the cyber criminals could suggest new “features”, upon which the other operators voted.”

Brad Smith the Microsoft general counsel said that the co-ordinate action ‘demonstrated the power of combined legal and technical expertise and we are going to continue to work together to help put these cybercriminals out of business.”

Kitguru says: This will be a constant battle for the authorities.

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