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Microsoft warns of Nitol botnet on new PCs

Helen French
Microsoft warns of Nitol botnet on new PCs

Microsoft has been busy cracking down on botnets that appear on brand new PCs that come through unsecure supply chains.

Through Operation b70, focused on the Nitol botnet, the firm discovered that increasing numbers of new computers had malware installed upon them.

Consumers are used to protecting their computers once they go online with them - they are less used to being wary as soon as the machine is turned on.

Earlier this week, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit permission to disrupt more than 500 different strains of malware with the potential for targeting millions of innocent people.

Microsoft initially discovered the Nitol botnet through looking into unsecure supply chains, which soon confirmed that cybercriminals aim to infiltrate supply chains to load infected counterfeit software onto machines.

A shocking twenty per cent of the PCs researchers bought from an unsecure supply chain were infected with malware, and it was found to spread easily through devices such as USB flash drives. 

Richard Domingues Boscovich said on the official Microsoft tech blog: "What’s especially disturbing is that the counterfeit software embedded with malware could have entered the chain at any point as a computer travels among companies that transport and resell the computer.

"So how can someone know if they’re buying from an unsecure supply chain? One sign is a deal that appears too good to be true. However, sometimes people just can’t tell, making the exploitation of a broken supply chain an especially dangerous vehicle for infecting people with malware."

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Tags: Microsoft, Malware, Hardware, botnet, cybercrime, nitol

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