Microsoft has filed a civil suit to try to stop the spread of malware it has traced back to two main countries—Kuwait and Algeria.
The company hopes this will be the most successful effort made by a non-governmental organization to combat cybercrime by attempting to stop key communication between the hackers and the PCs they are trying to infect.
Monday, a federal court in Nevada ordered an issue to target the Bladabindi and Jenxcus malware, two pieces of software that work similarly but were written separately by developers in Kuwait and Algeria.
Usually, legal cases against malware deal with developers in Eastern Europe; Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unity has combatted ten cases from there so far. But, according to Richard Domingues Boscovich, assistant general counsel of the unit, this newfound malware demonstrates that cybercrime is a growing concern internationally.
Boscovich blogged: “We’ve never seen malware coded outside Eastern Europe as big as this. This really demonstrates the globalization of cybercrime.”
The damage caused by all of this could be colossal. So far, Microsoft’s antivirus programs, which are only on less than 30 percent of PCs worldwide, have found 7.4 million infections in the last twelve months. At least 500 people represented in the civil suit purchased the malware.
Monday’s order allowed Microsoft to disrupt communications from the hackers and the PCs that were infected. Reno, Nevada-based Vitalwerks Internet Solutions was used by the hackers to facilitate communication to and from the infected computers, and to make it harder for communication to be tracked. Rather than communications going to Vitalwerks, registries are now directed to send suspicious traffic to Microsoft servers.
While Vitalwerks is not blamed for the spread of the malware, it has been suggested there could have been steps taken to prevent its misuse by hackers.
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