Microsoft has announced that it has disrupted the ZeroAccess botnet with help from the FBI, Europol, and industry partners. Microsoft says that this is the third time this year that it and its partners have disrupted dangerous botnets that affect millions of people each day. The ZeroAccess botnet is also known as the Sirefef botnet.
Microsoft and its partners say that the botnet has infected nearly 2 million computers around the world. The botnet has also reportedly cost online advertisers around $2.7 million each month. ZeroAccess targets all major search engines including Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Microsoft claims that most of the infected computers are in the US and Western Europe.
ZeroAccess hijacks search results and directs people to websites that are potentially dangers and capable of installing malware onto their computers to steal personal information. The botnet also fraudulently charges businesses for online advertisement clicks.
Microsoft notes that the architecture of the ZeroAccess botnet makes it one of the most durable botnets in operation. It uses a peer-to-peer infrastructure. Microsoft and its partners don’t expect to be able to fully eliminate the ZeroAccess botnet due to its sophistication. The actions taken are believed to have disrupted the botnet and to have forced the criminals to rebuild their infrastructure. Microsoft helped eliminate the Citadel botnet last summer.