Cybercriminals' Hijacked Computers Forced Offline

Morning Business Memo…

A cybercrime network of hijacked computers responsible for over $500 million in fraud has been taken down, according to Microsoft, the FBI and members of the financial services industry. A statement says more than 1,000 "botnets" were disrupted - each network includes thousands of infected PCs. The system was used to steal online banking information and personal identities. "Botnets are compromised computer networks which, once infected with malicious software, can be controlled by cybercriminals and used to complete tasks including data theft and the disruption of online services," reports ZDNet.

Is this the stock market pullback so many traders have been looking for? The benchmark S&P 500 opens this morning at its lowest level in a month. The Dow lost 217 points yesterday. Investors have become jittery in the past two weeks with rising volatility from one day to the next. Last week the market was spooked by signs that an improving economy could force the Federal Reserve to scale back its efforts to ease monetary policy. But this week the worries have been over economic weakness.

Three new economic reports contributed to yesterday's heavy losses. ADP, the payroll processing firm, says hiring at private employers weakened last month. The government reported lower-than-expected factory orders, and a third survey found slow job growth in the services sector. "Manufacturing is clearly weakening. That's evident in all the data on manufacturing," Moody's Economist Mark Zandi told ABC News Radio. Higher taxes and government spending cuts have an impact on jobs, he says. "Part of it is I think defense cuts they've been pretty massive and I think they're hurting the defense manufacturers." Another drag on the economy and jobs comes from overseas. "The global economy is soft so it's hurting our exports so manufactured goods and that's been a problem," says Zandi.

If you hunger for an Egg McMuffin in the wee-small hours of the night you may be in luck. McDonald's says it will offer a new overnight menu at some of its 24-hour restaurants from midnight until 4 a.m. The offerings will include breakfast and dinner food. McDonald's says customers will now be able to get Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets, as well as Egg McMuffins and hot cakes all during the same time. "Our customers want convenience around the clock," says a McDonald's statement.

We got it wrong says the IMF, which has made a rare admission of major missteps over its handling of Greece's bailout. The International Monetary Fund says it made notable failures, and Greece suffered a much deeper recession than was expected. The country is in its sixth year of recession with unemployment at 27 percent. Greece received $260 billion in two bailouts from Europe and the IMF.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio Twitter: daviesabc

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