Microsoft has gained a court order shutting down a criminal botnet
believed to have infected hundreds of thousands of computers around the world.
The so-called ‘Waledac’ botnet is one of the 10 largest in
the US. It is estimated to have
infected hundreds of thousands of computers around the world and, prior to the
takedown, was believed to have the capacity to send over 1.5 billion spam
emails per day. In a recent analysis, Microsoft found that between
December 3-21, 2009, approximately 651 million spam emails attributable to
Waledac were directed to Hotmail accounts alone, including offers and scams
related to online pharmacies, imitation goods, jobs, penny stocks and more.
initiated a civil action in the District Court of Eastern Virginia, where the
judge granted leave to shut down 277 Internet domains alleged to command and
control the Waledac botnet. The operation, Microsoft said, has “has effectively
shut down connections to the vast majority of Waledac-infected computers, and
our goal is to make that disruption permanent”.
However, the computers
controlled by the botnet still carry the infection and affected users need to
deal with that problem themselves. A tool to remove Waledac is available here.
All Windows users should maintain up-to-date anti-virus programs and firewalls,
and apply any security updates issued by Microsoft.