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FBI botnet threat may be underestimated

FireEye : 30 November, 2007  (Technical Article)
FireEye emphasises the need for protection against the threat of botnets after the FBI secures further convictions
Yesterday the FBI reported it had obtained three new indictments and successfully secured key convictions of Botnet cyber criminals. In June 2007, part one of the FBI Operation Bot Roast investigation had pinpointed over 1 million victims whose computers had been illegally hijacked and formed into "botnets." FireEye actually estimates 150 million bot-infected computers worldwide are used for criminal Botnet activities, including identity theft and fraudulent online transactions. Today, bot herders hijack millions of PCs ("bots") and link them together into criminal networks ("botnets") perpetrating a wide range of illegal online activities. Enterprise, consumer, and government computers are now unwitting perpetrators, accomplices, and victims in the estimated $67 billion computer-based crime wave hitting the Internet.

According to Ashar Aziz, president and CEO of FireEye, "We cannot overemphasize the importance of securing against botnets. The FBI Operation Bot Roast results are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Botnet cyber crime. Whether originating from direct malware attacks, social engineering, or inappropriate usage, PCs are being turned into bots at an alarming rate. Botnets are a major factor in online fraud and serve as unauthorized backdoor into company servers and networks."

Dr Michael Staggs, chief investigator at FireEye also stated: "To stop Botnet data compromise and other security incidents, IT and security professionals need a highly effective counterattack plan in place to defuse potential organisational damage. Network forensics is fast becoming the critical link in incident response. Using proper network forensic processes, IT can preserve critical and contextual data surrounding an incident to more quickly and accurately address violations of security and use policies."
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