Multiple Arrests Made in Million Dollar Online Scam

Norton Offers Tips to Users on Protecting Themselves from Online Threats

Oct 01, 2010, 11:00 ET from Norton

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ --


US authorities yesterday charged more than sixty people with using a malicious computer program known as the Zeus Trojan to steal millions of dollars. The people were believed to be part of an international cybercrime ring that employed "money mules" to set up bank accounts and help transfer the stolen money.

According to the Norton Cybercrime Report, released earlier this month, 79% of respondents globally believe cyber criminals will not be brought to justice. The arrests are a positive step forward for internet safety but the arrests - within the U.S. and U.K.- also demonstrate the lucrative market of these cybercrime enterprises and the importance of reporting online crime to the proper authorities.


The Zeus Trojan was designed for the purpose of gaining access to bank accounts. It accomplishes this by installing a keystroke logger to collect login and password information, and scanning the machine for stored passwords. As an added measure, the virus can seamlessly inject a request for the user PIN number right into the Web page, without the users' knowledge.


Norton security experts are on hand to provide background on the Zeus virus and offer tips on how users can protect themselves against similar viruses, including:

  • Trust your gut: If your banking institution makes an unusual request, such as asking for your ATM pin number, don't obey just because it appears to be coming from a company you trust. It could be the work of cybercriminals, watching your every move, until they are able to drain your bank account. Call your bank directly to verify before entering any of your personal information.

  • Build a good password: Protect your online passwords as if they were the keys to your house. This includes using numbers and symbols, so your passwords aren't easily broken, changing them every few months, and making sure they're not stored on your computer or any other public place. Programs like Zeus are designed to scavenge your machine for saved passwords, and then transmit them to criminals halfway around the world.

  • Use a trusted security solution: The best way to avoid having your banking information stolen is to avoid contracting viruses like Zeus before they are able to install any programs. Use security software, such as Norton Internet Security, to make sure you're protected from viruses, worms and other threats while surfing online.


Interviews with Norton experts available upon request


Katie Nafius
Edelman for Norton