Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ukrainian Cybercriminals made $10,000 per Day

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Security vendor Finjan conducted a 16-day infiltration of a Ukrainian cybercrime operation, resulting in the shut down of the criminals' servers after being reported to internet service providers. Credit card numbers were obtained from people attempting to purchase illegitimate antivirus and antispyware software, and the criminal operation generated $172,000 in the 16 days alone.

To pull off this clever maneuver, the operation first exploited search engines by injecting a text HTML page into hundreds of websites, mostly those dedicated to news and shopping. The text page contained many commonly misspelled search terms like "Obbama" and "gogle". Popular searches provided by Google Trends were also included. This allowed their sites containing the illegitimate software to be indexed quickly by search engines. When visitors stumbled upon the site, a flashing message indicated to them that they should install antivirus software because their computers were infected with viruses.

Yuval Ben-Itzak, the CTO of Finjan, said 1.8 million web users were successfully redirected to the rogue software website. The ones that were fooled into purchasing the fake software charged $20 to their credit cards to do so.

It is amazing how many people fall for such schemes in the present age. However, there certainly are endless ways to run into trouble and security threats on the information superhighway. My advice is to never click on any internet prompts telling you that your computer is infected with a virus. These prompts are certainly not scanning your computer for vulnerabilities. If they are advertising their software, it might be okay, but they generally wouldn't be as aggressive as the rogue software. In addition, I always think it is best to stick with the more generally well-known intrusion prevention software, and always purchase legitimate copies of them. Symantec (Norton), McAfee, Webroot, BitDefender, Kaspersky, and Spybot are some of the more trusted ones out there. Spybot antispyware is also free, and is a great one to have.

More info about the Ukrainian cybercriminals

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