Law enforcement and industry combine to prevent Shylock taking its pound of flesh

Piggy bank theft

An international operation involving law enforcement and private sector organizations has been set up to combat the Shylock banking trojan. Shylock, which gets its name because the code contains lines from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, is thought to have infected at least 30,000 Windows computers worldwide.

To date Shylock has targeted the UK more than any other nation so the country's National Crime Agency (NCA) is coordinating the international effort. This also includes the FBI, Europol, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, GCHQ, Dell SecureWorks, Kaspersky Lab and the German Federal Police.

Shylock typically infects its victims via a malicious link which installs the code, it will then seek to access funds stored in private or business bank accounts and transfer them to its criminal controllers. The enforcement operation is aimed at disrupting the system which Shylock relies on to operate by seizing servers and taking control of the domains it uses to communicate. These operations are conducted from the European Cybercrime Centre in The Hague.

Andy Archibald, Deputy Director of the NCA's National Cyber Crime Unit, says, "The NCA is coordinating an international response to a cyber crime threat to businesses and individuals around the world. This phase of activity is intended to have a significant effect on the Shylock infrastructure, and demonstrates how we are using partnerships across sectors and across national boundaries to cut cyber crime impacting the UK".

Users with Windows updates turned on should be safe from Shylock and don't need to take further action. If you don't have automatic updates running you can find more about checking for and removing infection on the Microsoft site.

There’s more information on the UK government's Cyberstreetwise website. The last word here though really should belong to Shakespeare's Shylock, "And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?"

Image Credit: Rob Hyrons / Shutterstock

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