Kiwis in $1b Facebook cybercrime bust

Last updated 16:17 12/12/2012

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Ten people including an unknown number in New Zealand have been arrested over an international cyber crime ring involving US$850 million (NZ$1.01 billion), the US Justice Department and the FBI say.

In a statement they said arrests were also made in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the United States and the execution of numerous search warrants and interviews.

"The operation identified international cyber crime rings that are linked to multiple variants of the Yahos malicious software, or malware, which is linked to more than 11 million compromised computer systems and over $850 million in losses via the Butterfly Botnet, which steals computer users' credit card, bank account, and other personal identifiable information," the statement said.

Botnet or robot networks are made up of compromised computer systems and can be utilized by cyber criminals to execute distributed denial of service attacks, send spam e-mails, and conduct underground organized criminal activity, to include malware distribution.

The FBI says Facebook's security team provided assistance to law enforcement throughout the investigation by helping to identify the root cause, the perpetrators, and those affected by the malware.

Yahos targeted Facebook users from 2010 to October 2012, and security systems were able to detect affected accounts and provide tools to remove these threats.

The statement says computer users should update their applications and operating system on a regular basis to reduce the risk of compromise and perform regular anti-virus scanning of their computer system.

It is also helpful to disconnect personal computers from the Internet when the machines are not in use.

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