Facebook hacker gang named

Stacey King

A group of alleged Russian hackers who are claimed to be behind the prolific Koobface virus which infected up to 800,000 personal computers have been named by frustrated cybersecurity experts.

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The unusual move has been taken by security company Sophos, which has published an account of it's investigations against the gang on its blog.

It says it has taken the step because it is frustrated that the Russian authorities have taken no action against the alleged cybercriminals, who are based in St Petersburg.

Sophos' Graham Cluley told the BBC that he strongly believed they had the right people: "We're pretty confident. I mean obviously we have to assume these people are innocent until proven guilty

"It's very difficult to be 100 per cent certain of these things. Of course it's always possible that someone could be trying to frame these people, but the evidence feels pretty strong to us. Certainly there's enough evidence to investigate these people."

The Koobface virus worked by tricking users of Facebook into clicking fake links which led to a prompt appearing on their PC to update their Adobe Flash software. If they did this the virus would take control of their machine and it would become part of a "botnet".

The victim would then be bombarded with offers of fake anti-virus software which they would be charged for.

The gang are alleged to have made $2m a year through the scam and the hackers are claimed to have indulged themselves with their ill-gotten gains, visiting the French Riviera and "living the lives of the rich and famous".

Experts hired by Facebook were successful in halting efforts to target the site's users, but the gang are now alleged to have gone on to target smaller sites.

AOL has not named the gang for legal reasons. Use the links in our related searches above if you wish to find out more.

What do you reckon? Should the Russian authorities pull their finger out? Comment below...