Dutch Zombie Hackers Hit 1.5 Million PCs

    October 20, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

The three men accused of distributing variants of the Toxbot worm stole credit card information and other personal data.

When arrested two weeks ago, authorities thought the zombie kings cracked 100,000 machines. Now, the estimate has been increased fifteen-fold.

A Dutch court ordered the main suspect and an accomplice held in custody for an additional 30 days, while the third suspect was released for personal reasons pending a trial, Expatica reported. Authorities still have not identified the accused publicly.

The criminals used pilfered PayPal and eBay account information to get goods from unknowing sellers. They threatened an unnamed US firm with a denial-of-service attack if it did not submit to a blackmail request. A second US company may have been targeted as well; that investigation is ongoing.

As antivirus vendors updated their programs to fight one version of the worm, the suspects altered it to evade detection. The resulting zombie network was one of the largest ever found, and detectives suspect the group was employed by others to program the worm.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.