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Large Botnet with Half a Million Infected Computers Shut Down

Friday, December 2, 2016 3:37
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Europol, the FBI, and several European police units have shut down the criminal botnet Avalanche. The network consisted of 500,000 infected computers worldwide that were controlled from the Netherlands. Reported Europol.

A botnet is a network of hijacked computers that can be exploited by cybercriminals remotely, often with no notion of the owner. Avalanche botnet was used to spread more than twenty malicious software types. Hackers used spam e-mails with infected attachments to infect computers to steal bank account passwords. Well organized network of so-called “money mules” helped to launder the money stolen by hackers.

The exact damage from Avalanche botnet cyber-attacks is still unknown. In Germany, for example, the estimates go up to € 6 million, as reported by Europol. The botnet has victims in more than 180 countries. “Hundreds of millions of euros” were stolen.

German police began an investigation about four years ago when a lot of computers got infected and blocked by Crypt0L0cker ransomware. Investigators and prosecutors from thirty different countries were involved in this investigation. It is one of the biggest operations against botnets so far.

Five people have been detained, 39 servers confiscated and 221 servers taken offline. Also, 800,000 domains seized or blocked which were earlier used by malware authors to communicate with the infected computers. 

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