It's the season for online shopping and spending, and you'll be glad to know that we've stepped up our fight against one of the most serious cyber security threats just in time for the holidays.
That threat involves what are called ‘botnets'-armies of personal computers taken over by cyber criminals and used on the sly to commit all kinds of mischief, from identity theft to denial of service attacks to massive spam campaigns. Bah, humbug.
In June, we announced the first phase of Operation Bot Roast, which pinpointed more than a million victimized computers and charged a number of individuals around the country with various cyber-related crimes.
Today, we're announcing part two of this operation, with more results:
- Three new indictments, including two this past month. In one case, we uncovered a denial of service attack on a major university in the Philadelphia area and then knocked out much of the botnet by disrupting its ability to talk to other computers.
- Two previously charged criminals who pled guilty, including a California man who is a well known member of the botnet underground.
- The sentencing of three others, including a pair of men who launched a major phishing scheme targeting a Midwest bank that led to millions of dollars in losses.
Our investigations spanned the country, including our field offices in Cincinnati, Detroit, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Sacramento, and Washington, D.C., which worked closely with a great many partners, including the Secret Service and Immigrations Customs Enforcement.
And these cases spanned the globe, involving information sharing and coordination with international colleagues like the New Zealand police. This week, authorities there conducted a search of the residence of the supposed ringleader of an elite global botnet coding group who goes by the cyber name of "AKILL."
The collective toll revealed so far in our operation has been significant, both at a national level and a personal level. To date, we've uncovered more than $20 million in economic losses. In one case, a victim confirmed damages of nearly $20,000 in denial of service attacks via botnets.
|- How to Protect Your Computer |
- Botnet Consumer Alert
- OnGuard Botnet Guide
- Home Computer Security Guidelines
- Botnet Tips
- FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center
At a minimum, that means using and updating anti-virus software, installing a firewall, not opening unknown e-mail attachments, and using strong passwords.
There are plenty more tips and guidelines here for you to learn more (see the inset box).
And, as always, we encourage you to report cyber frauds and attacks to your local police, to your local FBI office, or to our Internet Crime Complaint Center.
[Or an easier, safer way is to install a Linux Operating System (OS) or MAC instead of following the "mindless herd" and using MicroSHAFT's (MS) Win XP or Vista OS.
Your need for a Firewall and Anti-Virus Programs are virtually Zero. The time spent per week running these protection programs is extremely minimal. The only reason to do so with Linux or MAC is to protect MS Win Users that you email to, etc., because both Linux and MAC are impervious to 99% of all viruses! And both have built in protection that you do NOT have to fool with!!!
Of course that's only my humble, Expert Opinion (backed by many years of intensive research).
But don't forget the Internet has been, and now is, powered by UNIX, the BIG Brother of Linux. And Linux is now being used with tremendous success and safety in place of Unix on the World Wide Web!
Also many of the higher quality Web Hosting companies use Linux.
Oh yes, someone in the audience is asking for my recommendations.
I recommend the following in order:
(1) Ease of use (2) Compatibility with MS programs
(3) Business Applications (4) Ability to run Proprietary Programs.
|Linspire 6.0||A||A+||A||A-||$49.95 *|
|Ubuntu 7.10 1||A||A-||B-||B-||Free|
|1 Server Edition available|
They all have a HUGE amount of FREE HIGH QUALITY Programs available for use. Installing 90% of programs is a no-brainer. Even your computer illiterate Great-Grandma can easily do it with NO HELP from you!
If you have a MS only program that you can't live without, don't fret. You can get MS Windows Emulator programs that will allow you to run your programs. Win4Lin and Wine are two such programs. Both have improved tremendously over the last several months. MACs have their own programs.
* Price allows use on multiple computers without having to call and get a CODE in order to allow use after 30 days as per MS!
This OS is much less expensive than MS plus additional programs are usually FREE or at a lower cost than MS.
In addition, you can buy Computers with Linux OS, and more programs than you'll ever use, already Installed and very INEXPENSIVELY! And did I say these machines are fast? The Linux & MAC systems are very FAST!!!
Today it's a Win-Win Situation for the Consumer.
I wish I got $10 for each person that I got started to use Linux. Or better yet $1 a month for each user. I'd be sitting pretty right now. That would pay all my expenses. Sigh ... --- Ed]
For more information: