4 Takeaways from the 'Kneber Botnet' Cyber Attack

75,000 computers have been infected

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A day after we highlighted America's cyber-security threats, a new hacker plot has been discovered. Cyber criminals from Europe and China have infiltrated around 75,000 computers at companies and government agencies, according to NetWitness, a computer-security company. The virus used is called "Kneber" and it has gained access to Facebook, Yahoo, Hotmail, and online banking accounts. Taken aback by the scope of the attack, Internet security bloggers are parsing the details and have a few takeaways:

  • Super Hackers Are Getting Smarter, notes Dan Goodin at The Register: "While it's not uncommon for PCs to be infected by multiple bots, the researchers speculate that the unusually high amount of overlap means the criminals behind the attacks used multiple strains in the event that one infection were to be discovered by security personnel." Officials at NetWitness said using two viruses suggests "deeper cross-crew collaboration in the criminal underground."
  • We're All Vulnerable, writes Jaikumar Vijayan at Computer World. He describes the rise of Advanced Persistent Threats (APT), which will continue to target "financial, commercial and government entities":
The term has been used for some time in government and military domains to describe targeted cyberattacks carried out by highly organized state-sponsored groups and organized cybergangs with deep technical skills and computing resources. Such attacks are typically highly targeted, stealthy, customized and persistent. They also often involve intensive surveillance and advanced social engineering. In many cases, the attacks target highly placed individuals within organizations, who are tricked into visiting malicious sites or downloading malicious software onto their systems.
  • Macs Are More Secure, writes MacDailyNews. The Apple-friendly author taunts firms for wasting money on PCs: "Good thing you saved that $169.47 per seat upfront when you bought those Windows boxes instead of those Macs your users really wanted, IT geniuses. You'll waste your organizations 80 times your 'savings' just trying to clean up just this Windows mess. Don't worry, there'll be many more to come. Isn't built-in job security grand?"
  • Hackers Are Aiming High, writes Matthew Hines at Security Watch: "Based on the report we can conclude that attacks do indeed follow the money, and increasingly the power as well. What that means for the future is unclear, but, it certainly seems pretty scary."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.