U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Washington, D.C. 20535-0001
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NATIONAL PRESS OFFICE
June 13, 2007 (202) 324-3691
OVER ONE MILLION POTENTIAL VICTIMS OF BOTNET CYBER CRIME
Washington, D.C. – Today the Department of Justice and FBI announced the results of an
ongoing cyber crime initiative to disrupt and dismantle “botherders” and elevate the public’s
cyber security awareness of botnets. OPERATION BOT ROAST is a national initiative and
ongoing investigations have identified over one million victim computer IP addresses. The FBI
is working with our industry partners, including the Computer Emergency Response Team
Coordination Center at Carnegie Mellon University, to notify the victim owners of the
computers. Through this process the FBI may uncover additional incidents in which botnets
have been used to facilitate other criminal activity.
A botnet is a collection of compromised computers under the remote command and
control of a criminal "botherder." Most owners of the compromised computers are unknowing
and unwitting victims. They have unintentionally allowed unauthorized access and use of their
computers as a vehicle to facilitate other crimes, such as identity theft, denial of service attacks,
phishing, click fraud, and the mass distribution of spam and spyware. Because of their widely
distributed capabilities, botnets are a growing threat to national security, the national information
infrastructure, and the economy.
“The majority of victims are not even aware that their computer has been compromised
or their personal information exploited,” said FBI Assistant Director James Finch, Cyber
Division. “An attacker gains control by infecting the computer with a virus or other malicious
code and the computer continues to operate normally. Citizens can protect themselves from
botnets and the associated schemes by practicing strong computer security habits to reduce the
risk that your computer will be compromised.”
The FBI also wants to thank our industry partners, such as the Microsoft Corporation and
the Botnet Task Force, in referring criminal botnet activity to law enforcement.
Cyber security tips include updating anti-virus software, installing a firewall, using
strong passwords, practicing good email and web security practices. Although this will not
necessarily identify or remove a botnet currently on the system, this can help to prevent future
botnet attacks. More information on botnets and tips for cyber crime prevention can be found
online at www.fbi.gov.
The FBI will not contact you online and request your personal information so be wary of
fraud schemes that request this type of information, especially via unsolicited emails. To report
fraudulent activity or financial scams, contact the nearest FBI office or police department, and
file a complaint online with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, www.ic3.gov.
To date, the following subjects have been charged or arrested in this operation with
computer fraud and abuse in violation of Title 18 USC 1030, including:
o James C. Brewer of Arlington, Texas, is alleged to have operated a botnet that
infected Chicago area hospitals. This botnet infected tens of thousands of computers
worldwide. (FBI Chicago);
o Jason Michael Downey of Covington, Kentucky, is charged with an Information with
using botnets to send a high volume of traffic to intended recipients to cause damage
by impairing the availability of such systems. (FBI Detroit); and
o Robert Alan Soloway of Seattle, Washington, is alleged to have used a large botnet
network and spammed tens of millions of unsolicited email messages to advertise his
website from which he offered services and products. (FBI Seattle)
The FBI will continue to aggressively investigate individuals that conduct cyber criminal
Internet Crime Prevention Tips
Internet crime schemes that steal millions of dollars each year from victims continue to plague the Internet through various methods. Following are preventative measures that will assist you in being informed prior to entering into transactions over the Internet:
Counterfeit Cashier's Check
Credit Card Fraud
Escrow Services Fraud
Nigerian Letter or "419"
Third Party Receiver of Funds
Fake Check Scams Popular
- Hacker attacks and computer viruses: Disconnect the affected computer from the Internet and having it thoroughly scanned and cleaned, either by your internal IT department or a specialist. Report any suspected Internet crimes to the FBI.
- Spyware: Run a spyware scan or have it professionally diagnosed and cleaned. Report spyware incidents to the Federal Trade Commission‘s OnGuard Online website at www.onguardonline.gov/file-complaint.aspx.
- Spam: Use a spam filter and delete spam messages that pass through. You can also forward spam to the FTC email@example.com or the Anti-Phishing Working Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- ID Theft: Visit the Fraud and ID Theft page to learn how to recover your identity. The FTC also has resources about reporting breaches and a sample letter to show how you can notify customers.
- Online Shopping Fraud: Be careful who you conduct business with online. If you are defrauded in an online transaction, try to resolve things with the seller. If that fails, you can report incidents to: