More than 1 million computers in the last five months have become part of robot networks, or "botnets," in which hackers take over computers without their owners' knowledge and use them in criminal campaigns, the FBI said Thursday. FBI Director Robert Mueller says botnets are "the Swiss Army knives of cyber crime."
The bureau in June announced Operation Bot Roast to stop this emerging type of cyber attack, which the FBI estimates has resulted in $20 million in losses and theft.
More than 1 million computers were infected with botnets when the FBI launched Bot Roast, and another million have been identified since then. Industry numbers suggest there are millions more. According to an FBI news release, New Zealand authorities in tandem with the FBI searched the home of an individual -- identified only by the cyber name, "AKILL" -- whose "elite international botnet coding group" is suspected of infecting more than 1 million computers.