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Million victims worldwide of an International click-fraud bot strike

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A botnet which has infected systems around the world counts almost one million victim PCs within its network, researchers say.

Bitdefender says that victims are mainly from India, Malaysia, Greece, the US, Italy, Pakistan, Brazil and Algeria.

Botnets are networks of PCs which have been infected with malicious software designed to take control of the system without the owner’s knowledge. This can lead to ‘slave’ PCs being forced to send spam or launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against web domains, but controllers may also redirect slave PC users to malicious domains.

Another feature of botnets is altering PCs to change where traffic goes in the quest for ad clicks. If the operator tampers with internet configuration settings, they can forward searches to third-parties which manipulate search engine results to push users towards pages injected with ads that generate money for the cybercriminals.

One botnet which has been in operation since 2014 has managed to spread across country borders and is now potentially earning vast amounts of fraudulent revenue for the group, having infected at least 900,000 PCs worldwide.

In a blog post, researchers from Bitdefender said the botnet is based on the Redirector.Paco Trojan, which often finds its way onto systems as bundled software with installers for popular applications such as WinRAR or the YouTube Downloader.

The malware is added to legitimate installers through specialized tools.

If an unwitting victim uses the installer, they are infected and their PC now belongs to the network.

BS

Henry Sapiecha

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