Microsoft Corp and Symantec Corp announced on Thursday that they have managed to disrupt a global cybercrime organization that controlled thousands of PCs without users knowing it. The two companies offered a solution to the owners of the infected computers by giving them free tools with the help of which they were able to surf the Internet again, Reuters informs.
Numerous PCs have been controlled for a long period of time by a cybercrime organization that installed malware on the respective devices and prevented people from surfing the Internet. When Symantec and Microsoft discovered the network, the two companies persuaded the operators of the Virginia data center to take down a server in Netherlands that was responsible for the operation. The operation, known as Bamital botnet, has been terminated, according to Richard Boscovich, assistant general counsel with Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit. However, further researches need to be performed in the future before the companies can really establish whether the cybercrime organization has been abolished or not.
Microsoft sent automatic messages to those users, whose PCs have been infected so the latter could get access to free tools that could help them clean their computers. The Bamital operation redirected users to other search results than the ones they have initially made. This way, some companies were able to trick businesses into paying for advertisement clicks. Other types of computer viruses have been installed on the infected PCs during the Bamital operation. These were used for other cybercrimes such as, identity theft and website attacks.
The message provided by Microsoft read: “You have reached this website because your computer is very likely to be infected by malware that redirects the results of your search queries. You will receive this notification until you remove the malware from your computer”. Previous botnets have been disrupted by Microsoft, the most recent one being in 2010. The previous operations have been much bigger than the current one, but this is the first time when the two companies have offered warnings and free tools for people to clean their devices.