Saturday, April 28, 2012 | Latest audio lessons → VOA Learning English
Microsoft Takes On Zeus
Microsoft says it is making progress in efforts to stop the cybercrime operation known as Zeus. In March, federal officials in the United States raided office buildings in two states. They seized evidence related to the Zeus family of malicious software. Richard Boscovich is with Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit. He says the objective of the raids was to seize evidence which might help identify the individuals behind the Zeus family of malware. The bigger goal is to identify the computers of people all over the world that are compromised. That means they have the malware on their computer which is being used to victimize others "and they don't even know about it." Cybercriminals use Zeus to create a network of infected computers, or botnet, to steal personal information from computer users.
Mr. Boscovich says the operation reaches around the world. He says this malware was present at any given point in time in at least thirteen million computers worldwide.Malware means malicious software. It also can be called a computer virus or worm. Mr. Boscovich says the malware is spread through e-mails where people are tricked into clicking on a link or visiting a website. And once that happens, the objective is to infect the person's computer with this piece of malware. The malware is programmed to record every keystroke as you type on a computer keyboard. It gathers details about the websites you visit, your usernames and passwords, or other personal information. The information is then sent to the botnet's command center, which is a location on the Internet.
From there the criminals will direct all of the infected computers to contact the botnet from time to time to ask for directions. Much of the stolen information is sold on the black market. The information can be used to steal money from bank accounts or make purchases online without the victim's knowledge. Officials say these malware invasions are one of the main causes of identity theft. Microsoft brought a case against the Zeus operation on March nineteenth. The company released the details of the case after the buildings were raided on March twenty-third. Next week, we'll talk more about the raids, Zeus and what Microsoft says computer users can do to protect themselves. We will also talk about other recent efforts to fight cybercrime.
For VOA Special English, I'm Carolyn Presutti. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 02Apr2012)