Adware firm helps FBI nab botnet hackers

Adware maker 180solutions claims to be a key witness in the case against three Dutchmen accused of running a botnet which controlled 1.5m PCs. The group allegedly used the largest zombie army ever created to retaliate with a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against 180solutions after the vendor terminated its distribution contract. 180solutions develops an application called the Zango Search Assistant which offers access to games and premium content.

The application also comes bundled with software that presents pop-up ads as users surf the web. Many spyware detection and removal tools label the application as spyware, including Computer Associates' eTrust PestPatrol AntiSpyware. Software distributors are paid a fee for every copy of the software they get installed, creating an incentive for botnet operators to install the software on hacked systems.

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