(RepublicanPress.org) – Cybercriminals continue their efforts to target governments, elections, critical infrastructure systems, civilians, and the like. In many instances, they use malware to hack into computers and networks, forcing users to pay exorbitant ransoms, typically in untraceable cybercurrency. The Department of Justice (DOJ), FBI, and other partners recently took down one of those networks in a stunning display of the efficacy of interagency and international cooperation.
On August 29, the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California issued a press release discussing a multinational operation that successfully disrupted a malware and botnet system and took down its infrastructure. Likewise, US Attorney Martin Estrada briefed reporters that same day.
DOJ officials and FBI agents worked with their counterparts in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Latvia, and Romania to target cybergangs using a malicious code called Qakbot.
Qakbot is a particularly destructive backdoor Trojan designed to allow hackers to access and control personal computers, networks, and data systems. Cybercriminals engineered the malware to steal information like usernames and passwords and grant hackers access to user’s banking information.
Making matters worse, programmers engineered the malware to form botnets — armies of infected computers capable of receiving commands from remote serves controlled by cybergangs. In turn, those hacking groups sell access to those systems to other cybercriminal organizations.
In the press release, Estrada stressed that Quakbot is “one of most notorious botnets ever, [accounting] for massive losses… around the world.” He confirmed that not only did the multinational task force take down the system, but they also seized nearly nine million dollars in cryptocurrency from the gang responsible for the botnet. He said the DOJ and its global partners would make those funds available to victims.
Donald Alway, the FBI’s assistant director for the agency’s Los Angeles Field Office, echoed that sentiment. He also noted that the successful completion of the operation would “prevent an untold number of cyberattacks” ranging from breached personal computers to “catastrophic” strikes on critical infrastructure systems.
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