Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced that it has teamed up with the FBI, and together, they have made progress in the fight against a type of malware known as ZeroAccess, also called the Sirefef botnet. Samantha Murphy Kelly of Mashable reports that the malware has been targeting results on search sites like Google, Yahoo! and Bing.
Microsoft makes progress against malware
Microsoft said today that it has “successfully disrupted” the malware, which affects Windows devices. It basically takes over the search results from devices running Windows and downloads malware onto the systems. The company said there were nearly two million computers infected with the malware, and those computers were programmed to click on up to 48 advertisements every hour. As a result of all those fake clicks, advertisers were paying millions for clicks which were neither done by nor seen by humans.
Some estimate that as a collective, advertisers paid up to $2.7 million every month because of the attack. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) cited research from the University of California, San Diego. It suggested that nearly 2 million computers were infected with the malware as of October. The data also indicates that over 800,000 computers which are infected with the ZeroAccess malware were active online every single day. In addition to creating fake clicks, ZeroAccess can also be used to form a botnet for the purchases of bitcoin mining. It has been in use since at least July 2011.
Microsoft’s Cybercrime Center is on the case
In addition to working with the FBI, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was also working with the European Cybercrime Centre on this project. Officials with the FBI highlighted the “power of public-private partnerships,” saying that their work with Microsoft should show hackers that they are serious about shutting down cybercrime and holding cybercriminal accountable for what they do to individuals’ and business’ computers
Just weeks ago, the company showed off its new Cybercrime Center. Apparently that Cybercrime Center is being put to good use. And this isn’t the first time Microsoft has teamed up with the FBI to take down cybercriminals. The company helped the FBI take down a botnet citadel which stole $500 million in June.