If you have the Gameover Zeus malware, here’s how to get rid of it

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Deputy Attorney General James Cole speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Deputy Attorney General James Cole speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

A U.S.-led international operation disrupted a crime ring that had infected hundreds of thousands of PCs around the globe with malicious software used for stealing banking credentials and cyber extortion. The Justice Department says authorities used technical and legal tactics to interrupt the botnet in an effort called Operation Tovar, shutting down the servers the cybercriminals used.

The botnet, known as Gameover Zeus, or GOZ, derives its name from a version of the Zeus credential-stealing software. Deputy Attorney General James Cole says the cybercriminals stole a huge amount of money.

It originally surfaced in 2007. Court documents released today show that between 500,000 and 1 million machines worldwide were infected with the malicious software, or malware. Cole says a lot of people paid ransom so they could access their computers.

A botnet is a group of computers under the control of someone other than the computers’ owners. They are typically assembled through viruses and are the key tool in spam, online bank fraud and denial-of-service attacks on websites.

The Department of Homeland Security set up this website to help victims remove the GOZ malware: http://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/TA14-150A

 

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