Facebook exposes hackers behind 'Koobface' computer worm
Facebook has publicly identified a gang of five cyber criminals it believes to be behind Koobface computer worm, a piece of malicious software that attacked hundreds of thousands of computers through the social network's profiles.
According Facebook and Sophos, a British security firm involved in the investigation, the gang behind Koobface is a group of Russians operating openly in central St Petersburg. "The gang were living the life of the rich and famous", Sophos said.
According to The Telegraph, Facebook said it has known the identities of the gang for some time, but has decided to name them publicly after being frustrated by the lack of law enforcement action against them.
"People who engage in this type of stuff need to know that their name and real identity are going to come out eventually and they're going to get arrested and they're going to be targeted," the paper quoted Joe Sullivan, Facebook''s chief security officer, as saying. The Koobface computer worm first emerged in 2008 and spread itself by sending fake messages on Facebook and other social networks to its victims' friends.
If the recipient of the message clicked on a link that promised "you look just awesome in this movie", or similar, they were directed to a website that told them to update their Adobe Flash software.
Those who fell for the trick actually downloaded software that took control of their computer and recruited it into a "botnet". According to the report, the gang were tracked down via complicated trails of digital footprints.
Sophos revealed that the gang made technical mistakes in how they configured the computer they used to control their botnet. The errors allowed investigators to gather vital information that led to the gang's online nicknames, and revealed their identities.