Microsoft leads attack on search traffic thieves
SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Microsoft on Thursday announced it worked with police in Europe and the United States to disrupt a "dangerous" army of virus-infected computers used to hijack searches at Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Microsoft's digital crimes unit teamed with Europol's European cybercrime centre, the FBI and tech industry allies to tackle a "Sirefef botnet" that commandeers search results and routes queries to websites rigged to infect computers with malicious code, steal information or make money from bogus online ad "clicks."
The botnet, or network of machines infected with a virus that lets hackers take command, is also referred to as ZeroAccess and is believed to have spread across nearly two million computers around the world.
Microsoft estimated the bogus online ad billing and stolen traffic cost advertisers about $2.7 million (S$3.4 million) monthly.