Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), while it has been under fire over the years for its various security breaches and vulnerabilities that have exposed billions of computers to malware and viruses, has also been at the forefront of finding, controlling and ultimately stopping malware and virus sources from rogue websites or botnets – those networks of computers that used pirated Windows software to hack into certain computer networks to steal money or create email spam campaigns. Microsoft has developed a decent track record over the years in helping law enforcement locate the source of many of these cybercrime attacks and either shut down the source and/or help to identify the people responsible for the attacks.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is back in positive headlines Thursday as it announced a collaboration with the FBI to bring down one of the biggest botnets known, called Citadel. The botnet was targeting several financial institutions and had taken an estimated $500 million from those financial firms over the last 18 months, and the network encompassed at least 1,400 computer networks and infected an estimated 5 million computers around the world, with focus in the U.S., Australia, Hong Kong, India and Western Europe.
While the actual people involved in this operation have not been identified or captured yet, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and the FBI announced that they have located and shut down more than 70 percent of the infected networks, leaving about 400 still active. It is estimated that this botnet could have been run and maintained by as many as 80 people, the FBI noted.
“This collaborative action – codenamed Operation b54 – is Microsoft’s seventh botnet operation to date and part of a growing proactive effort by both the public and private sector to fight cybercrime, help protect people and businesses from online fraud and identity theft, and enhance cloud security for everyone,” said Richard Boscovich of the Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Digital Crimes Unit. “This operation marks the first time that law enforcement and the private sector have worked together in this way to execute a civil seizure warrant as part of a botnet disruption operation.”
Microsoft reported that this was its seventh botnet disruption, but the first working in conjunction with the FBI. Microsoft had, in the past, disrupted the botnet then would work with law enforcement to file a civil lawsuit or criminal charges if warranted. What are your thoughts about cybercrime and this particular botnet seizure? Are you more or less worried about your PC security after this? Leave us your feedback about Windows, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) or cybercrime in general in the comments section below.