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b2ap3_thumbnail_game_over_zeus_400A new botnet threat could spell “game over” for unaware Windows users – the threat targets almost all versions of Windows and Windows Server (excluding Windows 8.1). Even though the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Department of Justice have disrupted it, users are still at risk. Thankfully, they still have time – two weeks, until the threat returns.

Since 2011, the Zeus family of malware has been identified as thieves that target the banking credentials of unsuspecting end-users. This particular Zeus malware, however, is particularly dangerous because of its utilization of peer-to-peer technology. This means that the communication between computers is used to create bots, or “zombie” computers that act on their own without the user’s permission. According to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, GameOver Zeus “uses a decentralized network infrastructure of compromised personal computers and web servers to execute command-and-control.”

Essentially, this botnet can completely compromise your computer and use it to spread its disease, creating other bots and adding to the zombie horde. The bots send spam, steal sensitive information, and even execute distributed denial-of-service attacks, which can prevent users from accessing their own computer following the infection. This malware spreads by clicking on malicious emails and websites that entice you into entering your banking credentials via a fake email statement.

Since the botnet utilizes peer-to-peer technology and communications, the infection spreads through a network of distributed data. The worst part is that this network takes advantage of a technology that was supposed to protect data from hackers – encryption. GameOver is able to remain undetected and encrypted, which makes it very difficult to destroy, especially because destroying a central system isn’t enough to stop the botnet, and it can’t be targeted as a point of failure.

How Can You Protect Yourself?
The infection itself might be difficult to stop, but if you take action now to protect yourself from the danger, you’ll be saving yourself from a world of pain. Here are three easy tips that can keep a zombie-bot infection at bay:

Use up-to-date antivirus software and anti-malware tools. By shielding yourself with antivirus software and arming yourself with anti-malware tools, you can identify threats before they cause you trouble and eliminate them easily. By constantly updating your antivirus software, you’ll be able to identify the latest threats and keep yourself safe.
Change your passwords frequently. If there is a chance that your passwords have been compromised, it is a good choice to update your passwords and change them on a regular basis. Once a quarter should be enough. After all, a little caution can prevent a lot of pain.
Update your operating system and application software. Make sure that you are running the most up-to-date operating system and software, as an unpatched system could cause your own “Game Over.”
GameOver Zeus might be out of the game temporarily, but when it comes back, you want to be prepared. PACE Technical Services can help you keep yourself safe from all of the latest threats – all you need to do is call 905.763.7896, and we’ll do what we can to make sure you don’t witness your company’s own game over!

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