Zeus Tag-Teams with Telephone Jamming

Sue Marquette Poremba

Those of us who pay close attention to information security are all too familiar with Zeus and its pure evilness (there is no other way to describe it.) However, those of us who aren't as tuned in need to be made aware of just how nasty this Trojan is because it seems like there is always something new happening with it.

 

Even on the heels of positive news-arrests made in a cyber-theft ring-comes more disturbing news about Zeus attacks. The hackers are now taking things an extra step by jamming phone lines of financial institutions so they cannot make verification calls. All the while, the criminals are stealing money from bank accounts.

 

According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, it's a new twist on the denial-of-service attacks. As Zeus was stealing bank account information, the article said:

[V]ictims' phones were tied up with a barrage of phone calls, according to the federal complaints, preventing them from contacting their bank or brokerage. Busy signals also prevented fraud monitors at the institutions from contacting victims, according to FBI officials who were interviewed before the announcement of the arrests.
The telephone bombardments lasted as long as a week, sometimes forcing victims to disconnect their lines or switch phone numbers, which bought the suspects time to raid their accounts.

The article also quoted Avivah Litan of Gartner who said this is one of the fastest-growing crimes. As if we needed more proof to just how evil Zeus is.



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