The hackers have been distributing a Trojan Horse – a piece of malicious code embedded inside a legitimate computer file – which when activated allows hackers full control of a computer while it is connected to the internet.
The problem was detected by Network Security Technologies (Netsec) when the malicious code placed on its network unsuccessfully tried to contact hackers across the internet.
The company isolated and analysed the Trojan, and later contacted government officials at the FBI. Netsec security engineers then followed the Trojan’s communications and monitored internet conversations among hackers.
According to US reports, the FBI plans to meet with Netsec officials today amid fears that the launch of a so-called denial-of-service attack is imminent.
‘Due to the widescale nature of the infection, the hackers could easily use the compromised machines to launch a distributed denial-of-service attack,’ said Jerry Harold, Netsec’s president and co-founder.
A denial of service attack occurs when a hacker bombards the target site with a large volume of automatically generated access requests, simulating the effect of a millions of users trying to sign on simultaneously.
Netsec has identified more than 2000 computer systems within the last few days that have been compromised by this Trojan, including a major corporation in the US and Europe.
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