April 21, 2010

Online Security Company Warns of Zeus Virus Return

An online security firm is warning computer users that the Zeus virus, which can steal bank account numbers and other information from infected PCs, has returned stronger than ever.

According to an April 21 BBC News article, secure browsing service provider Trusteer reports that it has located the Trojan virus in one out of every 3,000 computers that they monitor, which number more than 5.5 million in total.

"Zeus 1.6 can infect people using Firefox and Internet Explorer web browsers," the company claims, according to the BBC report. "The malware steals login information by recording keystrokes when the infected user is on a list of target websites."

The virus is usually used to target banks or other financial institutions. It acquires user data, which is then sent via a remote server to hackers, who then in turn use or sell the information.

"We expect this new version of Zeus to significantly increase fraud losses, since nearly 30% of internet users bank online with Firefox and the infection is growing faster than we have ever seen before," said Amit Klein, chief technology officer at Trusteer, told BBC News on Wednesday.

The Zeus Trojan, which is also known under the names Zbot, PRG, Wsnpoem, Gorhax and Kneber, was first identified in July 2007 after it was used to hack into and steal information from U.S. Department of Transportation computers.

It has reportedly compromised three million computers in the United States since its discovery, and according to Symantec, the most recent outbreak occurred in February 2010 and could have affected as many as 75,000 computers worldwide.


On the Net:

Trusteer - http://www.trusteer.com/

Zeus (Trojan virus) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeus_(trojan_horse)