Tom Sanders in California
10 Oct 2005
Dutch authorities arrested three individuals last week accused of
running one of the largest ever hacker botnets comprising over 100,000
The three men, aged 19, 22 and 27, were not named. Police confiscated
computers, cash and a sports car during searches of the suspects'
A botnet is a collection of hacked computers at the disposal of a
hacker without the owner's knowledge. Botnets are commonly used to
launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks or to send spam.
With over 100,000 infected systems, the network is one of the largest
ever detected, prosecutors claimed.
The suspects will be charged with computer hacking, destructing
automated networks, and installing adware and spyware.
The trio used the W32.toxbot internet worm to recruit systems for
their botnet army. The worm was first detected early this year and
infected systems all over the world.
Antivirus software to detect and remove the software is available, but
the suspects kept changing their malware to avoid detection.
The authorities are also investigating the group's involvement in a
blackmail attempt on an unnamed enterprise in the US.
It is common practice among online crime gangs to extort the owners of
websites, forcing them to pay to prevent a DDoS attack on their
It is also suspected that the group was involved in crafting internet
worms with keystroke logging software to gather login names to commit
credit card fraud and identity theft.
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