Microsoft has successfully disabled a computer network spanning nearly 2 million machines that was aimed at creating click fraud. The company won a lawsuit it filed in Texas, which resulted in a judge ordering internet service providers to block activity on 18 specific computer addresses. Those addresses are suspected of sending instructions out to the two million infected computers, directing them to click on links without the users' knowledge.
The goal of such an operation is to defraud sites such as Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft's Bing search engine out of advertising revenue, which is typically paid out based on the number of clicks that a link receives. The 2 million computers mentioned above, which were located all over the world, contained an infected copy of Internet Explorer that enabled hackers to access the machines, called a "botnet," and program them to activate the links.
Reuters reports that as a result of this botnet, called ZeroAccess, search engine companies were losing $2.7 million a month.
Microsoft has been working on these security efforts for three years. They're part of a larger push by the company to coordinate with law enforcement to disrupt networks of hackers and malware creators.
Computer security should be an important factor when buying a laptop. One of the strengths of OS X Mavericks, the operating system made by Apple, is that it provides excellent protection against malware without slowing down the system, as can sometimes be the case with antivirus software. If you're in the market for a new laptop computer from PortableOne, give us a call today and we can discuss all the new security features that are available in both OS X and Windows 8.