The internet world is a little safer now after Emotet, the most dangerous malware botnet infrastructure has been disrupted by coordinated work by law enforcement agencies around the world.
Multiple agencies, including the FBI, Europol, and UK’s National Crime Agency, took control of the infrastructure controlling Emotet. It took over two years to finally intercept the botnet, but this international law enforcement operation represents a considerable disruption in cybercriminal operations worldwide after this huge success.
Emotet is a banking trojan that first surfaced in 2014 and evolved into one of the most dangerous malware out there. It spread with automated phishing emails that had infected Microsoft Word documents attached. Once a user opened those documents, the malware opened a backdoor in Windows computers, making them accessible to hackers. The hackers behind the botnet amassed countless infected devices that they were using for all sorts of additional attacks.
“Emotet was our number one threat for a long period and taking this down will have an important impact. Emotet is involved in 30% of malware attacks; a successful takedown will have an important impact on the criminal landscape. […] We expect it will have an impact because we’re removing one of the main droppers in the market – for sure there will be a gap that other criminals will try to fill, but for a bit of time this will have a positive impact for cybersecurity”.Fernando Ruiz, head of operations at Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre
The operation also discovered a database of stolen personal information, including email addresses, usernames, and passwords, stolen by Emotet. People can check if Emotet stole their data by visiting the Dutch National Police website.
Even though the Emotet takedown was successful, the operation is still ongoing. As a defense against this malware and other future ones, authorities recommend using well-established antivirus tools and fully updating their software.
The law enforcement agencies are working with Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) worldwide to assist people affected by this dangerous botnet.
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