Busting Botnets: F-Secure's New Antibot Solution Curbs the Effects of Cybercrime
Botnets are controlling tens of millions of users' computers worldwide, but F-Secure is unveiling a new product that will fight botnets by cleaning infected PCs and devices on operators' networks. F-Secure Antibot disinfects devices that are infected on a network by guiding the users through a simple self-cleaning process, cutting out the need to call the operator helpdesk.
As detailed in F-Secure's latest Threat Report, botnets are flourishing with new packaging, new methods and new business models. ZeroAccess, the world's fastest-growing botnet, infected millions of computers in 2012, using them to commit large-scale click fraud and Bitcoin (a digital currency) mining. Zeus, which is also a banking trojan, causes millions of dollars in loss to its victims by siphoning money from their online bank accounts.
Botnets: Disturbing for consumers, burdensome for operators
"Anywhere from 6 percent to 20 percent of people, depending on the study, still don't use antivirus software," said Mikko Hypponen, Chief Research Officer at F-Secure. "These computers are the ones most likely to get infected a problem for operators wanting a clean network. Antibot helps solve this problem because it works whether or not the computer has antivirus."
A bot (short for robot) is a malware-infected PC or device that is remotely controlled by cybercriminals, and a botnet is a whole network of those infected devices. Cybercriminals can use the device to make money by sending spam, displaying and clicking ads or in the case of a smartphone, sending text messages to premium numbers. Or they can take the device hostage, requiring a ransom to be paid before ceding control. Criminals also use botnets to launch DDoS attacks that bring down organizational websites.
Typically, users don't even realize their computer is part of a botnet, continued Hypponen. "You're living your life and meanwhile, your computer is part of an army of zombies, carrying out the orders of cybercriminals."
Botnets can impact device and Internet performance, slowing down connections and affecting usability. They also pose a risk to consumer privacy. Private credentials like passwords can be stolen, giving access to online bank accounts, social media accounts, and other personal data.
Operators are significantly affected by the burden of botnets. Helpdesk call volumes increase when customers experience slow connections or other problems, and infected devices that send spam take up bandwidth that slows down the network for everyone.
Business benefit by botnet remediation
By cleaning infected devices and restoring their performance, Antibot's automated cleaning capabilities will turn a negative user experience into a positive one, and the reductions in volume and length of calls to operator support will result in considerable savings for operators. Minimized bandwidth-hogging by botnets will reduce unnecessary load on network infrastructure.
"The operators we've talked to are really excited about Antibot," said Samu Konttinen, Executive VP, Customer and Market Operations at F-Secure. "With Antibot they can drive down support costs, boost customer satisfaction, reduce churn and create a new upselling path to their security solution."
Antibot will work across platforms, supporting Windows, Android and later this year Mac OSX. A smooth user experience with few interaction steps keeps Antibot light for the consumer, and its "always up-to-date" status and capability to remove complex malware make it the most effective product of its kind. Antibot is co-brandable and the end user messaging is fully customizable.
More information about Antibot is available at F-Secure's stand at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, February 25 through 28 (Hall 5, Stand 5E90) and at www.f-secure.com.
F-Secure - Protecting the irreplaceable
While you concentrate on what is important to you, we make sure you are protected and safe online whether you are using a computer or a smartphone. We also backup and enable you to share your important files. Our services are available through over 200 operators around the world and trusted in millions of homes and businesses. Founded in 1988, F-Secure is listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki Ltd.