4 Million Computers Hijacked, $14 Million Illegitimate Income

by Dev Duff on November 9, 2011

An Eastern European pack of cyber thieves known as the Rove group hijacked at least four million computers in over 100 countries, including at least half a million computers in the U.S., to make off with $14 million in “illegitimate income” before they were caught, federal officials announced today. The malware allegedly used in the “massive and sophisticated scheme” also managed to infect computers in U.S. government agencies including NASA and targeted the websites for major institutions like iTunes, Netflix and the IRS – forcing users attempting to get to those sites to different websites entirely, according to a federal indictment unsealed in New York today.

More about this news here: Cyber Criminals Hijacked 4 Million Computers

There are millions of users that visit iTunes, Netflix, IRS and sites hijacked by cyber criminals. Many used their login credentials to login to their accounts, many used credit cards to make purchases and pay for monthly subscriptions. Did you also made a purchase on these websites or used your credit card information on any of these websites? If you did, you know better what to do. Even if nothing bad has happened to you, as a precautionary measure, you should get your numbers changed before these criminals make use of your funds.

The fact is that 42 new threats appear every minute on the world wide web. What can you really do to secure yourself against these threats? One good way to keep your computer protected is to buy the best antivirus software that has a robust antivirus engine, antispyware engine, robust firewall, anti-phishing engine and other components that can protect you. The other way to keep yourself protected is by staying alert. When you are about to use your login credentials or about to use your credit card, ALWAYS look at the link of the page. Is it really a legitimate looking website?

Cyber criminals generally target web users by placing false advertisements and click redirects. When you click an advertisement or a web link, the malware redirects you to a fraudulent website that has the same looks of a legitimate website. Here is how FBI has described cyber crimes:

The indictment describes several examples of alleged cyber fraud including two principle strategies: traffic redirection and ad replacement.

In the first case, if a user searched for the websites of major institutions like iTunes, Netflix or the IRS, the search results would return normally. However, if the user tried to click on the link to the websites, the malware on the computer would force a redirect to a different website where the criminals would profit in their advertisement deal.

In the second, when an infected computer visited a major website — like Amazon.com — the malware would be able to simply replace regular advertisements on that page with advertisements of their own making.

Most of the time, users are unaware of the fact that there may be something on their own computer that plays foul. So it is extremely important to have a good antivirus software that can keep you protected all the time. Also, make sure to run “full system scans” regularly to make sure that there is nothing messing with the system files on your computer system. Like the old saying, “Prevention is better than cure”.

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Change your passwords every 2 months people! Add at least one ‘extra’ character like a ! or a #@$%


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