Federal Agents Stop World’s Worst Botnet


Laptop on couchYour BBB advises callers daily on ways to avoid credit card fraud, and what to do when it happens to you. We’ve recently learned that an international operation led by the Department of Justice has disabled a hacking network that generated losses of more than $100 million in the U.S. since 2011.

The federal indictment unsealed at a court in Pittsburgh on Monday names Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, a Russian citizen and resident of the Black Sea city of Anapa, as the head of the group controlling the botnet. U.S. authorities tracked his online activities by monitoring a computer server in the U.K. used to administer the botnet. The Gameover Zeus botnet, a web of hundreds of thousands of infected computers were used to steal money from bank accounts. Gameover Zeus, which first emerged in September 2011, infected between 500,000 to 1 million computers, putting them in the control of hackers in Russia and Ukraine, according to Legal documents unsealed on June 2Nd (PDF).

The main purpose of creating such a network, federal officials said, is to steal banking credentials and then use them to make wire transfers overseas.

This botnet caused more damage than any other botnet previously, based on the amount of financial fraud.” The hackers used the same network to spread a malicious program called Cryptolocker, which takes control of a computer, encrypts its contents, and demands ransom from the user to regain access to their files. This multi-nation effort included law enforcement units from Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Canada, Ukraine, and the U.K.

The main question now is how long it will take entities to construct a new network.

For more information regarding securing your personal information, visit www.bbb.org/evansville, where you can Start With Trust®.

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Michael is our Business Information Specialist and will be writing at least one article per week for the consumer education blog. He works with accredited businesses to ensure we maintain current contact information and licensing. He is usually first to answer the phone; so odds are good you will be speaking with him when calling our office.

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