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Botnet safety
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Botnet safety

Botnet safetyThere's been a great deal of scarey stuff in the news lately about so-called botnets, which are nasty things. They compromise computers if defences are poor and allow control to be passed to others. An infected PC, then known as a 'bot', has effectively been penetrated by malicious software or malware and a botnet controller is then able to direct the activities of compromised computers and get up to all sorts of damaging michief.

A particular strain of malware known as Gameover Zeus has hit the headlines recently (June 2014). So serious is the threat from this malware, in what's been described as the biggest ever operation of its kind, servers all over the world were raided simultaneously by authorities, enabling them to direct what are known as Command and Control (C&C) servers, which are the machines that control the operation of the botnet.

With these servers under temporary police control the bad guys are unable to control the hijacked PCs but, this will only be for a short while because they soon set-up new C&C servers elsewhere and get up to mischief again.

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So, all PC users are being urged to check that this particularly dangerous malware has not infected their machines. As the UK government-backed Get Safe Online has said: "This warning is not intended to cause panic but we cannot over-stress the importance of taking these steps immediately."

Thankfully, there are free tools, which have been developed specially, all of which are available from several internet security software companies. You can use any of these tools regardless of the make of internet security software you normally use and all of them are capable of ridding your PC of Gameover Zeus and another nasty bug, CryptoLocker, which can lock your PC, which is usually followed by a request for money to let you back in.

Thisonly recommends that all PC owners download one from any of the following providers.

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Symantec
www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2014-052915-1402-99

F-Secure
F-Secure Online scanner (Windows Vista, 7 and 8)
www.f-secure.com/en/web/home_global/online-scanner
F-Secure Rescue CD (Windows XP systems)
www.f-secure.com/en/web/labs_global/removal-tools/-/carousel/view/142

Kaspersky
http://support.kaspersky.com/viruses/utility#kasperskyvirusremovaltool (if you think your computer is infected with malware )

http://support.kaspersky.com/8005 (WindowsUnlocker utility for if your computer is infected with CryptoLocker)

Sophos
www.sophos.com/VirusRemoval
(Windows XP (SP2) and above)

Heimdal Security
http://goz.heimdalsecurity.com/
(Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1.)

Microsoft 
www.microsoft.com/security/scanner/en-us/default.aspx
Microsoft Safety Scanner (Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP)

McAfee
www.mcafee.com/stinger

Trend Micro
www.trendmicro.com/threatdetector
(Windows XP, Vista, Windows, Windows 8/8.1, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2).

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Already infected?
If you've been infected already and lost money through malware such as Gameover Zeus and CryptoLocker, you should report it immediately to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by phoning 0300 123 2040.

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