U.S. officials said Tuesday that the FBI and its European partners infiltrated and seized control of a major malware network used for more than 15 years to commit a gamut of online crimes including crippling ransomware attacks.
They then remotely removed the malicious software agent — known as Qakbot — from thousands of infected computers.
Cybersecurity experts said they were impressed by the deft dismantling of the network but cautioned that any setback to cybercrime would likely be temporary.
“Nearly ever sector of the economy has been victimized by Qakbot,” Martin Estrada, the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, said Tuesday in announcing the takedown. He said the criminal network had facilitated about 40 ransomware attacks alone over 18 months that investigators said netted Qakbot administrators about $58 million.
Qakbot’s ransomware victims included an Illinois-based engineering firm, financial services organizations in Alabama and Kansas, along with a Maryland defence manufacturer and a Southern California food distribution company, Estrada said.
Source: The Intendent