Last year, an army of five million zombie computers began taking marching orders from an Eastern European cybercriminal kingpin.
These computers weren’t in a dank warehouse or an abandoned strip mall, but in homes and offices across 90 countries. The infected PCs belonged to a vast array of unwitting users who detected nothing out of the ordinary. Meanwhile, when its malevolent creators issued the command, the zombie army lurched to life.
The zombies recorded keystrokes, capturing login passwords and Social Security numbers, spying on financial information, and logging people’s most sensitive and personal information. In short order, the zombies could report back to their masters that your mother’s maiden name is Jones, you bank at Chase, and that you use a Battlestar Galactica-inspired password for several accounts. In a matter of minutes, a thief on the other side of the world is typing “Fr@ckCyl0ns!” to log in to your most important websites, stealing your hard-earned savings, your credit card numbers – perhaps even your identity.