After six years of banishment, the infamous Zeus malware has once again resurfaced, but this time it’s using Facebook to further its crime spree.
First detected in 2007, Zeus has infected millions of computers over the past six years. Despite the efforts of numerous security firms to combat the Trojan horse, it has only gotten stronger with age.
Zeus is believed to have been created by a Russian criminal gang. It’s spread through phishing messages – like when you automatically send friends weird messages or links.
When someone has been phished, their account will automatically send messages or links to a large number of their friends.
These messages or links are usually ads telling friends to check out videos or products. Don’t click them.
Following the initial infection, the virus lays dormant until an online banking site is opened. It then uses keyloggers to steal the unsuspecting victim’s usernames and passwords. Sometimes the Zeus malware goes even further – it replicates the bank’s website, using a fake interface to obtain social security numbers, credit card digits, and other sensitive information. Eurograbber, a Trojan that employs similar methods to that of Zeus, reportedly stole $46.5 miillion from European users.
It is for this reason that Zeus is so effective. Even when your bank account is fully drained, the malware continues to search for any tidbits of data that can be sold on the black market. And unlike most malicious software, there are little to no warning signs – the computer will continue to operate normally, as an outright crash was never the intent.
Zeus targets Windows machines. It does not work on Mac OS X or Linux. The only real way to protect yourself from it is to make sure you only click links that come from trusted sources.
Eric Feinberg, the founder of Fans Against Kounterfeit Enterprise (FAKE), believes that bogus Facebook pages are now being used to spread the malware. One such page was called “Bring the N.F.L to Los Angeles.” After asking a security team to analyze the shady links that were posted throughout the group, Feinberg’s theories were proven to be correct.
Experts say make sure you pay close attention to what you click. It’s also helpful to check with your bank on the safest way to log into your account.