Microsoft has sued a group of hackers who have allegedly stolen millions of dollars from computer users and financial institutions using malware disguised as the its Windows software.

Microsoft Corporation and FS-ISAC, Inc., filed a trademark infringement suit in the Eastern District of Virginia against three John Does, whom the company alleges have created an illegal network of interconnected computers they have infected with malware and are using for criminal purposes, said Courthouse News Service. 

The John Does, whose identities the plaintiffs say they will work to ascertain, allegedly infected computers with malicious software and connected those computers in a network called a Ramnit botnet.

A command and control infrastructure allows the defendants to use the Ramnit to steal millions of dollars from those who use the infected computers, as well as the financial institutions that service the computer users, said Courthouse News Service. 

While disguised on a user's computer, the Ramnit is able to capture the user's login details and personal information that allows the defendants to later access the user's bank account, according to the report.

"Defendants have been alarmingly successful in spreading the Ramnit infection to computers around the world," the complaint said. "Since approximately January 2010, Ramnit has been among the most prolifically spread malware infections among the many that are tracked by security experts."
Microsoft and FS-ISAC have brought their action under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the Lanham Act, and they seek injunctive relief to halt the defendants' criminal activities.

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