Police sting protects Britons bank accounts from Russian Hackers - BestCyberNews: Online News Presenter in the present world

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Police sting protects Britons bank accounts from Russian Hackers

According The Telegraph, more than 15,000 people in the UK have been infected with dangerous malware and have just two weeks to protect themselves before it attempts to empty their bank accounts, warns the National Crime Agency.

The software, called Gameover Zeus, has spread worldwide but has been temporarily disabled by an unprecedented international effort from law enforcement agencies. 

Potential victims can protect themselves by installing anti-virus software and updating their operating system to the latest version, but have only a short time to do so before the hackers can rebuild their network.

"This warning is not intended to cause you panic but we cannot over-stress the importance of taking these steps immediately," said government-backed website Get Safe Online.

A massive international effort including the NCA, FBI and Europol, as well as staff from banks and ISPs, has targeted the Command and control (C&C) servers that coordinate the attacks. Hackers will be able to install new ones, but it is thought that there will be a two-week window of opportunity for users around the world to protect themselves.

ISPs will now be contacting those who have been infected to warn them.

The software infects a computer, usually via phishing scams, and then begins to send spam emails to lure in further victims, spreading quickly across the internet.
It lays dormant until it spots an opportunity to steal personal details such as online banking passwords and transmits that back to criminals via the C&C servers. The hackers then use that data to steal the victim’s cash.

If a user turns out not to be a viable victim then the software can infect the computer with another piece of malware called CryptoLocker. This encrypts important files, denying access, and demands a ransom to release them. Currently the software demands one Bitcoin, which is around £300. The US government today admitted that at least one police force has itself had to pay this ransom to release files.
The United States Justice Department has today filed a complaint that alleges Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, living in Russia, is the leader of a "criminal enterprise" responsible for creating and spreading the software. It also names others by psuedonyms who are believed to "assist in administration" such as "Temp Special", "Ded", "Chingiz 911" and "Mr. Kykyprky".

The complaint alleges that the software has been responsible for the loss of $100m. It goes on to allege that an insurance company in Pittsburgh was struck by CryptoLocker and racked up losses of $70,000 during delays while restoring computers from back-ups. It also claims that a local police department in Massachusetts had its main file server, including investigative documents and digital mug shots encrypted by the malware and was forced to pay the $750 ransom to have them released.

The NCA advised that the public could get advice on how to stay safe from the Get Safe Online website. Andy Archibald, Deputy Director of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, said: “Nobody wants their personal financial details, business information or photographs of loved ones to be stolen or held to ransom by criminals. By making use of this two-week window, huge numbers of people in the UK can stop that from happening to them.

“Whether you find online security complicated or confusing, or simply haven’t thought about keeping your personal or office computers safe for a while, now is the time to take action. Our message is simple: update your operating system and make this a regular occurrence, update your security software and use it and, think twice before clicking on links or attachments in unsolicited emails.”

“Those committing cyber crime impacting the UK are often highly-skilled and operating from abroad. To respond to this threat, the NCA is working closely with law enforcement colleagues all over the world, and developing important relationships with the private sector.”

The US government’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team released a warning today about the threat, claiming that it affected those users running Microsoft Windows. It also advised people to install anti-virus software, update their operating system to the latest version and change their passwords in case they had been compromised.

Author Venkatesh Yalagandula Follow us Google + and Facebook and Twitter

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