FBI 2 300WASHINGTON, D.C. (6/8/13) - Last month, the head of an international securities fraud ring was sentenced to federal prison for manipulating stock prices by using botnets to distribute spam promoting those stocks. And several months ago, 10 members  of an international cyber-crime ring were arrested for using botnets to steal more than  $850 million after obtaining personal financial information from compromised computers.

The use of botnets is on the rise and industry experts estimate that botnet attacks have resulted in the overall loss of millions of  dollars from financial institutions and other major U.S. businesses. They've also affected universities, hospitals, defense contractors, law enforcement, and all levels of government.

What exactly is a botnet? A bot, or web robot, is an automated malware program that scans blocks of network addresses and infects vulnerable computers. A network of these infected computers-numbering in the hundreds of thousands or even millions-is called a botnet (robot network), and each computer becomes connected to a command- and-control server operated by the criminal.

Once the botnet is in place, it can be used in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, proxy and spam services, malware distribution, and other organized criminal activity. Botnets can also be used for covert intelligence collection, and terrorists or state-sponsored actors could use a botnet to attack Internet-based critical infrastructure. And, they can be used as weapons in ideology campaigns against their target to instigate fear, intimidation, or public embarrassment.

Your personal computer could become part of a botnet-it only takes one wrong click for you to download malicious code. For example, you might get an unsolicited e-mail promoting a dating website or a work-at-home arrangement or an e-mail that appears to come from your bank containing a seemingly harmless link. You could be sent a link by a friend asking you to view a great video (which was actually sent because the friend's  computer is already infected). You could see a link on a webpage that seems to be soliciting donations for a recent tragedy. And you might even visit a fraudulent website-or a legitimate one that's been compromised-and download video, pictures, or a document containing malicious code.

Your personal computer could become part of a botnet-it only takes one wrong click for you to download malicious code. For example, you might get an unsolicited e-mail promoting a dating website or a work-at-home arrangement or an e-mail that appears to come from your bank containing a seemingly harmless link. You could be sent a link by a friend asking you to view a great video (which was actually sent because the friend's computer is already infected). You could see a link on a webpage that seems to be soliciting donations for a recent tragedy. And you might even visit a fraudulent website-or a legitimate one that's been compromised-and download video, pictures, or a document containing malicious code.

Once the malware is on your computer, it's hard to detect. And in addition to your computer being commanded to link up with other compromised computers to facilitate criminal activity, the bot can also collect and send out your personal identifiable information-like credit card numbers, banking information, and passwords-to the criminals running it. Those criminals will take advantage of the information themselves or offer it for sale on cyber-criminal forums, and you could find yourself being victimized again.

The FBI-with its law enforcement and private sector partners-has had success in taking down a number of large botnets, most notably Coreflood. By combining the resources of government and the private sector-and with the support of the public, they will continue to improve cyber-security by identifying and catching those who threaten it.

If you think your computer may be part of a botnet, file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) http://www.ic3.gov/ and/or contact the cyber task force at your local FBI office http://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field.

SurfKY News
Information provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation

.
e-max.it: your social media marketing partner

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

In Other News...

Upcoming Events at Land Between the Lakes

KENTUCKY (7/30/15) — Land Between the Lakes offers a variety of fun programs for all ages and interests. Friday and… Read More

Neighbors Provide Helpful Information

KENTUCKY (7/30/15) — As Kentucky Transportation Cabinet engineers have started evaluating the site of a fatal washout… Read More
1 DOW 17,689.86
-56.12 (-0.32%)    
2 S&P 2,103.84
0.00 (0.00%)    
3 NASDAQ 5,128.28
-0.50 (-0.01%)    

Most Read This Week

July 27, 2015 5749

Death of Central City Man in Dawson Springs Under…

by SurfKY News
July 27, 2015 3754

School System Announces Free Lunch/Breakfast at…

by SurfKY News
July 30, 2015 3047

Webster Man Leads Police on Chase through Parts…

by SurfKY News
July 31, 2015 3010

Miss Hopkins County Fair 2015 Chosen

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
July 28, 2015 2487

Hanson, Owensboro, Bowling Green Youths Win at…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

July 17, 2015 16164

Muhlenberg Most Wanted - Top 10

by SurfKY News
July 23, 2015 15113

UPDATE: Family Confirms Body of Missing Teen…

by Shawn Freels, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

July 31, 2015 3010

Miss Hopkins County Fair 2015 Chosen

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
July 31, 2015 1426

Little Miss, Mister Hopkins County Fair Chosen

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
July 31, 2015 919

State Fair President Commends Hopkins County Fair…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
July 31, 2015 868

Hopkins District Court Fines Handed Down

by SurfKY News
July 31, 2015 561

Henderson Woman Faces Rape Charges

by SurfKY News
July 31, 2015 449

Four Wheeler Pursuit Results in Charges

by SurfKY News
July 31, 2015 442

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

by SurfKY News
July 31, 2015 415

A.G. Conway Announces Two Cybercrimes Arrests for…

by SurfKY News
July 31, 2015 414

One Injured in Three-Vehicle Collision

by SurfKY News
July 31, 2015 383

Fairgoers Enjoy Fair Weather Thursday Night

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News