Islamabad                 -          Microsoft has taken down one of the world’s largest and longest-running botnets, an illicit network of ‘zombie’ computers high-jacked by malware and used for a wide variety of fraudulent phishing schemes without their owners’ knowledge. The takedown operation was a collaboration between Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit, cyber security firm Bit Sight, and a number of other partners in 35 different countries. The botnet, called Necurs, had spread to more than nine million computers over the course of eight years, using the surplus processing power of infected devices for mass emailing campaigns and other fraudulent activity that further spreads the network’s reach.