FBI Nabs Three in Operation Bot Roast - Unwitting Victims
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Owners of infected PCs could be totally unaware of any problems with their machines. The user might notice that the system is running slowly. The user’s sent email box might contain messages the user hasn’t sent. And the user might receive an email that says he or she is sending spam. But even the absence of these signs does not guarantee that the PC is “safe.”
Botnets can be used for a wide range of illegal activities. Bot herders have been known to use their zombie army for any of the following nefarious purposes:
- Stealing the computer owner’s identity.
- Launching massive spam campaigns.
- Engaging in click fraud schemes.
- Launching denial of service attacks.
“The majority of victims are not even aware that their computer has been compromised or their personal information exploited,” emphasized James Fitch, assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division. If you suspect that your computer has been compromised, the FBI requests that you not call them directly; they cannot provide technical assistance. If you do discover that you are a victim, you can file a complaint through the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Furthermore, the FBI warned in its press release about the operation that the bureau “will not contact you online and request your personal information. Be wary of fraud schemes that request this type of information, especially via unsolicited e-mails.”
Continued vigilance is important; just because Operation Bot Roast has been fairly successful does not mean the threat is no longer there. “Operation Bot Roast is only about three months old as a national initiative,” noted FBI Special Agent Richard Kolko. “But the cyber division has hundreds of open investigations; this is just the tip of the iceberg. There will be additional arrests and legal action in the weeks and months ahead.”
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