Bamital Botnet Takedown Crushes Search Hijacking and Click Fraud Scams

Today, Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit, in collaboration with Symantec, have successfully taken down a dangerous botnet called “Bamital” that was being used to hijack people’s search results and take them to potentially dangerous websites that could install malware onto their computer, steal their personal information, or fraudulently charge businesses for online advertisement clicks. This botnet was exploiting the major online search and advertising platforms including Bing, Google and Yahoo. Over the last two years alone, Microsoft estimates this botnet to be responsible for compromising more than eight million computers and stealing tens of millions of dollars from unsuspecting victims all around the world. 

If you have been impacted by this botnet, you will be notified the next time you try and run a search using your preferred provider.  Infected computers will be redirected to a site which provides guidance on how to clean the system. 

In order to correct this problem, you will need to take some steps to improve the security of your computer. Many of the leading anti-malware tools available online can help clean this malware from your computer.  We have listed two options from Microsoft and Symantec here, but you can choose and use anti-malware tools from any provider that you trust. If you wish to run one of the free malware removal tools listed below, copy and paste or type either one of the addresses below into your web browser.

Getting this process started should take less than 10 minutes and the scan can be completed in generally less than an hour, but may vary depending on your system and software used. You do not need to do anything during the scan.

If you think you already have an anti-malware program on your computer, you should make sure it is up to date and perform a full scan.

For more information on the takedown, I encourage you to check out this blog post from our Digital Crimes Unit.

Additional Resources:

Tim Rains
Trustworthy Computing

About the Author
Tim Rains

Chief Security Advisor, Microsoft Worldwide Cybersecurity & Data Protection

Tim Rains is Chief Security Advisor of Microsoft’s Worldwide Cybersecurity & Data Protection group where he helps Microsoft’s enterprise customers with cybersecurity strategy and planning. Formerly, Tim was Director Cybersecurity & Cloud Strategy in Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft, where he Read more »