Gameover Zeus malware threatens consumers’ bank accounts

Gameover Zeus is a malware that enters your computer and tries to take consumers’ banking and other credentials from home computers. Learn how to detect it and protect yourself from this malware.

Protecting our bank accounts is a key to a stable financial future. In this day of technology we always need to be aware of scams, viruses and malware that work to take our personal information. Most recently, a malware program called Gameover Zeus was detected as a worldwide valid threat to 1 million computers.

According to Nicole Vincent Fleming, Consumer Education Specialist from the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice recently announced a multinational law enforcement effort to disrupt the Gameover Zeus Botnet. Fleming explains:

Gameover Zeus is malware designed to steal banking and other credentials from home and business computers. Once infected with this malware, a computer becomes part of a global network of compromised computers known as a “botnet.” Criminals use botnets to carry out illegal activity — like sending spam and spreading malware.

Security researchers estimate that between 500,000 and 1 million computers worldwide are infected with Gameover Zeus, and that about 25 percent of them are in the US. The FBI estimates that Gameover Zeus is responsible for more than $100 million in losses. U.S. and international law enforcement disabled Gameover Zeus and brought charges against one of the people responsible.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, if your computer has been infected, you will need to take a few steps to remove the malware and secure your accounts:

  1. Install and run security software. Here are examples of software that can find and remove Gameover Zeus from your system.
  2. If your security software finds malware, remove it and restart your computer. Then, change the passwords for your important accounts like your bank and email accounts.
  3. Finally, make sure your operating system and internet browsers are up-to-date, and set them to update automatically.

In addition, the FTC says if your computer was infected with Gameover Zeus, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may contact you to remove the malware. If your ISP calls you, they will not ask for personal or financial information, and they will not charge you any money.

Do not confuse a call from your ISP with a tech support scam. If the caller pressures you to send money or to give up control of your computer, it may be a scam. If you are not 100 percent sure that the person on the phone is from your ISP, hang up and call your ISP directly.

For more information on personal money management, visit MiMoneyHealth from Michigan State University Extension.

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