The US Department of Justice and the FBI have identified over one million compromised IP addresses as part of an ongoing cybercrime operation.
The initiative, named Operation Bot Roast, aims to detect and dismantle zombie computers and raise the American public’s awareness of cybercrime and security.
The FBI has found networks of bots being used by hackers to facilitate other crimes, including identity theft, denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, phishing, and the mass distribution of spam and spyware.
The agency said the botnets were a “growing threat to national security, the national information infrastructure and the economy.”
James Finch, assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division, warned: “The majority of victims are not even aware that their computer has been compromised or their personal information exploited.
“An attacker gains control by infecting the computer with a virus or other malicious code and the PC continues to operate normally. Citizens can protect themselves from botnets and the associated schemes by practicing strong computer security habits to reduce the risk that your machine will be compromised.”
Three men who used hijacked computers to commit crimes have already been arrested as part of the operation, according to the law enforcement organisation. James Arlington from Texas was one of those arrested on suspicion of operating a bot that infected computer systems at hospitals in the Chicago area last year.
The FBI said that it would notify people who owned machines that were part of a bot.