SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft has released the identities of two men it believes to be the ringleaders of the Zeus botnet, and has passed these names on to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The company identified Ukranians Yevhen Kulibaba and Yuriy Konovalenko as the two masterminds behind the Zeus botnet, both of whom are being held by authorities in the UK on another charge related to malware.
The Zeus botnet malware, which has quickly become a favoured tool amongst cyber criminals, allows a remote attacker to embed code into local HTML files, giving the attacker the ability to turn otherwise legitimate web pages into phishing tools.
"Microsoft and our financial industry partners sought to help protect innocent people by disrupting the Zeus business model and increasing the cost of doing business for cybercriminals," Microsoft digital crimes unit senior attorney Richard Boscovich said in a company blog post.
"I'm happy to report that we are already seeing proof that our disruptive actions were successful in achieving this goal."
Microsoft also revealed that the number of attempts at spreading the Zeus botnet Trojan dropped from 780,000 for one week in March to 336,000 during a week in June.
The company said, "These successful results represent a significant advancement for the people that Microsoft, the financial industry and law enforcement are all focused on protecting as customers and citizens." µ