Thousands of computer users around the world received startling news Wednesday when they tried to search online: their PCs were infected and used by hackers to commit cybercrime.
The news came after Microsoft disrupted a network of infected computers Wednesday that was helping cyber criminals commit fraud. In this case, hackers had installed malicious software on computers to steal victims’ personal data and hijack search results to charge businesses for online advertisement clicks. By taking down the cybercrime ring, more than 300,000 people around the world will regain control of their computers, Richard Boscovich, a senior attorney at Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit, said in a blog post.
“What’s most concerning is that these cybercriminals made people go to sites that they never intended to go to, and took control of the computer away from its owner,” Boscovich said. The malicious software was used “in such a sneaky way that most victims wouldn’t have even noticed a problem while the botnet was still operating,” Boscovich added.
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