Massive Cyberattack Hits 75K Computers
Sophisticated attack targeted health, tech firms in 196 countries
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2010 5:42 AM CST
Some 75,000 computers were affected by the sophisticated bot.   (<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/" target="source">?</a><a href="http://flickr.com/search/people/?m=name&q=williamli1983" target="source">williamli1983</a>)

(Newser) – One of the largest cyberattacks ever discovered has hit more than 75,000 computers worldwide, targeting email, credit card information, corporate data and logins at health and tech companies in 196 countries. The attack, originating from a crime ring based in Eastern Europe, shows that criminal groups are becoming as sophisticated in their cyberattacks as nation states such as China and Russia, the Washington Post reports.

The attack, which began in late 2008 and was discovered last month, tricked unsuspecting computer users at the targeted companies into downloading infected software or opening emails with infected attachments. A malicious software intrusion called the Kneber bot then trolled users' computers for log-in information and passwords, which it used to get into other users' systems, multiplying its attack exponentially. The log-in data the hackers gathered has monetary value in the criminal world.