US authorities said that an international operation by law enforcement agencies has taken down the notorious “Qakbot” virus platform that was widely used by cybercriminals to commit financial crimes.
Originally discovered over a decade ago, Qakbot spreads primarily through emails that victims don’t suspect might be viruses.
The US Department of Justice said that the operation involved the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), but also law enforcement institutions from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, Romania and Latvia.
US Attorney Martin Estrada said the Qakbot operation was the most significant technological and financial operation the US Department of Justice has led against a botnet. The term ‘botnet’ is used to refer to an interconnected network of computers that hackers use to spread viruses.
“Together we have destroyed Qakbot and saved many victims from the new attacks,” he said during a press conference.
Security researchers believe that Qakbot originated in Russia and has attacked organizations around the world.
Estrada said Qakbot infected more than 70,000 victim computers, facilitated cyber attacks and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to businesses, healthcare providers and government agencies.
As part of the operation, 52 servers in the US and other countries were seized.
Investigators have found evidence that between October 2021 and April 2023, Qakbot administrators accepted $58 million in payments from victims./VOA
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