Computing News | Antispyware firm warns of massive ID theft ring
A spyware program belonging to a particularly dangerous class of browser hijacking tools called CoolWebSearch (CWS), according to Sunbelt's president, Alex Eckelberry. CWS programs are extremely hard to detect and remove, and are used to redirect users to Web sites that use spyware tools to collect a variety of information from infected computers.
The CWS variant being researched by Sunbelt turned infected systems into spam zombies and uploaded a wide variety of personal information to a remote server apparently located in the U.S. That server holds a "treasure trove of information" for ID thieves, Eckelberry said.
Sunbelt's research showed that the information being uploaded to the remote server included chat sessions, user names, passwords and bank information, he said. The bank information included details on one company bank account with more than $350,000 in deposits and another belonging to a small California company with over $11,000 in readily accessible cash, he said.
Many of the records being uploaded also contained eBay account information, he said. Among the highly personal bits of information Sunbelt was able to retrieve from the server were one family's vacation plans, instructions to a limo driver to pick up passengers from an airport and details about one computer user with a penchant for pedophilia.
Sunbelt officials did not say how they accessed the material. But the existence of a large file that the company said it retrieved from the remote server was confirmed by Computerworld. Sunbelt said the file contained user names, addresses, account information, phone numbers, chat session logs, monthly car payment information and salary data.
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