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World network of infected computers discovered

Finjan Software : 23 April, 2009  (Technical Article)
Finjan lists details of its discovery of a global network of infected computers controlled by cyber criminals
Finjan's Malicious Code Research Centre (MCRC) has discovered a network of 1.9 million malware-infected computers. Corporate, government and consumer computers around the world were infected by the malware.

This discovery is part of a research conducted by MCRC when investigating command and control servers operated by cybercriminals. The cybercrime server has been in use since February 2009, is hosted in the Ukraine and is controlled by a cybergang of 6 people. These cybercriminals established a vast affiliation network across the Web to successfully distribute and operate their malware install-base. They compromised computers in 77 government-owned domains (.gov) from the UK, US and various other countries.

The malware is remotely controlled by the cybercriminals, enabling them to instruct the malware to execute almost any command on the end-user computer as they see fit, such as: reading emails, copying files, recording keystrokes, sending spam, making screenshots, etc.

Since the discovery of its findings, Finjan has provided UK and US law enforcement with information about the server. Finjan has also contacted affected corporate and government agencies to let them know that they were part of the infected computer names.

"As predicted by Finjan at the end of last year, cybercriminals keep on looking for improved methods to distribute their malware and Trojans are winning the race. The sophistication of the malware and the staggering amount of infected computers proves that cybergangs are raising the bar," said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CTO of Finjan. "As big money drives today's cybercrime activities, organizations and corporations need to protect their valuable data to prevent theft by these kind of sophisticated cyberattacks."

The research also revealed that the malware is installed on computers when visiting compromised websites serving malicious code. Information found by MCRC on the command and control server includes the IP addresses of the infected computers as well as the computers' name inside corporate and government networks that are running the malware.

The global spread of infected computers in percentages is as follows:

US: 45%
UK: 6%
Canada: 4%
Germany: 4%
France: 3%
Other: 38%

The malware is infecting computers running the Windows XP operating system and using the following Web browsers:

Internet Explorer - 78%
Firefox - 15%
Opera - 3%
Safari - 1%
Other - 3%

As recommended by leading analysts, a unified Web security solution is the preferred solution for corporate and government agencies against today's cyber attacks. Finjan's Unified Secure Web Gateway product combines multi-layered Web security, utilizing real-time content inspection technologies, with data leakage prevention (DLP) solutions. Finjan's product also provides Web 2.0, productivity, liability and bandwidth control via URL categorization, content caching and applications control technologies on one dedicated appliance. This enables companies and governmental agencies alike to enjoy optimal multi-layered protection in real-time, with lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and higher Return on Investment (ROI).

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