Tech Commentary

GameOver Zeus

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It seems that no sooner has the internet community recovered from Heartbleed than it’s hit by yet another threat! GameOver Zeus has been well publicised but I thought I’d do a quick post to summarise what it is and what you can do to protect yourself in the next couple of weeks (in case you live in a social vacuum but religiously read my blog..!) Every little helps…

What is GameOver Zeus?

GameOver Zeus is a piece of malware (that’s malicious software, for non-technical people like me) which compromises the security of computers. Zeus, ZeuS and Zbot are all types of Trojan (Trojan is malware which disguises itself to look like something socially useful, to encourage users to install it – now that’s a Classical reference I can understand!) which are typically used to compromise computers in order to steal information/data. In this case, GOZ is an intricate piece of malware designed to steal bank details and therefore drain bank accounts. GOZ works by linking infected computers in a ‘botnet’, whereby any one of them can then be used to issue commands to the others. There are signs your computer is infected, but it might be hard to tell, especially since such malware is often spread in spam emails which most people are exposed to.

Where did it come from?

Malware is not new, of course, but this particular virus is very sophisticated, and is estimated to have cost victims $100 million globally. According to the FBI, the ringleader of the gang responsible has been identified as Syrian-born Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, who has still not been located but faces charges over GOZ and is on the Cyber’s Most Wanted list. He’s also believed to be the leader of the gang behind the CyberLocker virus.

Who is affected?

Users of Microsoft computers… which is a lot of people. It is believed that 15,000 people in the UK will be affected, and an estimated 500,000-1,000,000 machines infected globally.

Symptoms and actions

A full report of actions can be found here, but some easy action points…

– Use anti-virus, and make sure you update it

– Make sure you update your OS and application software

– Change all your passwords, which may have been compromised (make sure you don’t use the same one for everything)

– Use specific anti-malware tools (which can be found at the above link too)

Well I know what I’m going to be doing this weekend. Brace yourselves and see you on the other side.

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