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Microsoft Takes Legal Step To Disrupt Botnets Which is infecting Computers Globally

Microsoft reported these domains to their respective registries in countries around the world so the websites can be blocked and thus prevented from becoming part of the Necurs infrastructure

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Microsoft
Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit, BitSight and others in the security community first observed the Necurs botnet in 2012 and have seen it distribute several forms of malware, including the GameOver Zeus banking trojan. Pixabay

After eight years of tracking and planning, Microsoft and its partners across 35 countries have now taken coordinated legal and technical steps to disrupt one of the world’s most prolific botnets, called Necurs, which has infected more than nine million computers globally.

Necurs is believed to be operated by criminals based in Russia, Microsoft said on Tuesday. This disruption will help ensure the criminals behind this network are no longer able to use key elements of its infrastructure to execute cyberattacks.

A botnet is a network of computers that a cybercriminal has infected with malicious software, or malware. Once infected, criminals can control those computers remotely and use them to commit crimes.

Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit, BitSight and others in the security community first observed the Necurs botnet in 2012 and have seen it distribute several forms of malware, including the GameOver Zeus banking trojan. The Necurs botnet is one of the largest networks in the spam email threat ecosystem, with victims in nearly every country in the world.

“During a 58-day period in our investigation, for example, we observed that one Necurs-infected computer sent a total of 3.8 million spam emails to over 40.6 million potential victims,” Tom Burt, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President for Customer Security & Trust wrote in a blog post. Necurs has also been used for a wide range of crimes including pump-and-dump stock scams, fake pharmaceutical spam email and “Russian dating” scams.

It has also been used to attack other computers on the Internet, steal credentials for online accounts, and steal people’s personal information and confidential data. Interestingly, it seems the criminals behind Necurs sell or rent access to the infected computer devices to other cybercriminals as part of a botnet-for-hire service.

Necurs is also known for distributing financially targeted malware and ransomware, cryptomining, and even has a DDoS (distributed denial of service) capability that has not yet been activated but could be at any moment.

On March 5, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued an order enabling Microsoft to take control of U.S.-based infrastructure Necurs uses to distribute malware and infect victim computers.

Microsoft
After eight years of tracking and planning, Microsoft and its partners across 35 countries have now taken coordinated legal and technical steps to disrupt one of the world’s most prolific botnets, called Necurs, which has infected more than nine million computers globally. Pixabay

“With this legal action and through a collaborative effort involving public-private partnerships around the globe, Microsoft is leading activities that will prevent the criminals behind Necurs from registering new domains to execute attacks in the future,” Burt said.

This was accomplished by analyzing a technique used by Necurs to systematically generate new domains through an algorithm. “We were then able to accurately predict over six million unique domains that would be created in the next 25 months,” Burt said.

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Microsoft reported these domains to their respective registries in countries around the world so the websites can be blocked and thus prevented from becoming part of the Necurs infrastructure. (IANS)

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Microsoft To Unveil New “365 Personal and Family Subscriptions” From April 21

Tech giant is also working with Adobe, Experian, Bark, Blinklist, and others to offer limited-time access to other premium consumer subscriptions

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Microsoft
In addition, Microsoft also introduced two new Microsoft 365 experiences that will be available for preview in the coming months. A new ‘Family Safety' app is designed to keep families safe across the digital and physical worlds. Pixabay

Microsoft has unveiled its new Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscriptions which are designed to replace and enhance the existing Office 365 consumer plans.

Microsoft 365 Personal and Family plans will be available from April 21, at the starting price of Rs 4,199 a year. For the best value, a family of up to six people can use Microsoft 365 Family for Rs 5,299 a year, the company said in a statement.

The new Microsoft 365 Personal and Family plans will include access to Outlook and the Office desktop apps for Windows and macOS, 1 terabyte of OneDrive storage per person and 50 gigabytes of Outlook.com email storage, Skype call recording and 60 minutes of Skype landline and mobile phone calls.

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In addition, Microsoft also introduced two new Microsoft 365 experiences that will be available for preview in the coming months. A new ‘Family Safety’ app is designed to keep families safe across the digital and physical worlds.

Microsoft is previewing new home features for Teams that are now part of Microsoft 365 subscriptions designed to let friends and family connect in a group chat or through video calls. Microsoft is also adding a lot of Office-related features with transition to Microsoft 365. Users will soon be able to access the existing Editor feature of Word, which is more of an advanced proofing service than the regular grammar and spellcheck features.

PowerPoint is also getting some exclusive features for Microsoft 365 consumers. Microsoft also launched a presentation coach for PowerPoint. This AI-driven feature helps you avoid filler words and other presentation no-nos. In partnership with Plaid, one can now link their bank accounts to Excel and import all of their expenses into your spreadsheets.
This feature, dubbed “Money in Excel,” will launch in the US in the coming months.

Microsoft
Microsoft has unveiled its new Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscriptions which are designed to replace and enhance the existing Office 365 consumer plans. Pixabay

Outlook is getting the ability to link your work and personal calendars on the web. Additionally, Microsoft 365 subscribers also get exclusive access to more than 200 new templates and thousands of images and videos from Getty Images. Microsoft has also introduced a new Password Monitor feature for its Edge browser.

The Password Monitor will let users know if any passwords have been compromised in database breaches so you can change them easily. To help people get connected even faster, Microsoft recently introduced a new feature in Skype called ‘Meet Now’ that allows users to easily create video meetings in as little as three clicks for free, with no sign ups or downloads required.

ALSO READ: Samsung Supports Local Hospitals India By Providing PPE Kits, Masks To Combat Novel Coronavirus

Tech giant is also working with Adobe, Experian, Bark, Blinklist, and others to offer limited-time access to other premium consumer subscriptions. (IANS)