October 11, 2006
An investigation has been launched into data recovered from a computer
in the US that was found to contain information from hacked computers
based in the UK.
The Metropolitan Police's Computer Crime Unit is investigating the data,
which was stolen from more than 2,300 computers by the use of a computer
Police estimate around 83,000 files in the UK have been targeted by the
hackers but it is thought thousands of computer users around the world
may have had data stolen.
E-mail addresses, passwords, credit card numbers and other confidential
information has been recovered by police during the course of the
The details were harvested from the computers by a type of malicious
code known as a "Backdoor".
It is not yet known how many computers have been infected but officers
are taking steps to notify the UK victims of the online attack.
Banks and other online services, including internet service providers,
are also being alerted.
A police spokesman said: "Identity theft performed by computer viruses
is on the increase. As in this case, it often goes on without the
knowledge of the computer's owner."
He said victims who are e-mailed by the Met's Computer Crime Unit should
contact the detectives named on the contact number provided.
Police are advising computer users to regularly update their anti-virus
programme virus signatures and scan their computers to help avoid
becoming a victim. People who shop online are urged to check bank
statements regularly to ensure no illegal transactions have taken place.
Copyright Press Association Ltd 2006, All Rights Reserved.
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