‫ Microsoft shuts down a $2.7m a month click fraud botnet

ID: IRCNE2013122036
Date: 2013-12-07
According to “ITPro”, Microsoft continues to fight against botnets by smashing a network which was using 2 million machines around the world.
The software giant filed a lawsuit in Texas and won a judge's order directing internet service providers to block all traffic to 18 internet addresses that were used to direct fraudulent activity to the infected machines.
Law enforcement in many European countries served warrants at the same time, seizing servers expected to contain more evidence about the leaders of the ZeroAccess crime ring, which was devoted to "click fraud."
Microsoft said the botnet had been costing advertisers on Bing, Google and Yahoo an estimated $2.7 million monthly.
Such rings use networks of captive machines, known as botnets, in complicated schemes that force them to click on ads without the computer owners' knowledge. The schemes cheat advertisers on search engines including Microsoft's Bing by making them pay for interactions that have no chance of leading to a sale. Microsoft said the botnet had been costing advertisers on Bing, Google and Yahoo an estimated $2.7 million monthly.
The coordinated effort marks the eighth time Microsoft has moved against a botnet and a rare instance of it doing serious damage to one that is controlled with a peer-to-peer mechanism, where infected machines give each other instructions instead of relying on a central server that defenders can hunt down and disable.
But the ZeroAccess botnet still had a weakness. The code in the infected machines told them to reach out to one of the 18 numeric Internet addresses for details on which ads to click.
For now, at least, the fraud by this network has stopped, said Microsoft Assistant General Counsel Richard Boscovich.
The operators of the botnet are believed to be in Russia, while the author of the malicious software distributed on it could be based elsewhere, Boscovich said.


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