By Melissa Silverberg and Anna Marie Kukec
A Lombard data center executive said Tuesday it cooperated in a raid by Microsoft Corp. and the U.S. Marshals Service seeking evidence on a so-called cyber mafia that’s been stealing more than $100 million via computers over the past five years.
Lombard-based Continuum Data Centers, on the 800 block of Oak Creek Drive, as well as BurstNet in Scranton, Pa., were both raided Friday because the Web hosting companies “contained valuable data and virtual evidence related to the Zeus botnet,” Richard Boscovich, senior attorney for Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit, said through a spokeswoman.
The Zeus malware program could help cyber criminals steal users’ bank account information, according to Microsoft, which has operations in Chicago and Downers Grove.
Boscovich declined further comment but said the investigation is ongoing and investigators now are analyzing the evidence. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
This is the second time Microsoft has conducted physical seizures in a botnet operation and worked in collaboration with the financial services industry in a move against one of the “most notorious cybercrime operations that fuel online fraud and identity theft,” Microsoft said in a statement.
The Zeus malware is typically installed on PCs of unwitting users who click on phishing links or attachments in spam emails. Zeus can monitor a victim’s online activity and log every keystroke typed, which makes identity theft or fraudulent purchases even easier, Microsoft said.