A criminal hacking scheme used to steal billions of dollars from businesses and private citizens worldwide has been recently dismantled by international law enforcement agencies.
In a joint operation with the police authorities from six European countries, along with Canada and United States, they are working to take control of internet servers used to run and control a malware network basically known as Emotet.
In a statement, Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) said, “Emotet is currently seen as the most dangerous malware globally. The smashing of the Emotet infrastructure is a significant blow against international organized internet crime.”
The said malware is widely used by cybercriminals to first gain access to a victim’s computer before then downloading additional malicious software. As such Trojans which are designed to steal banking passwords, or ransomware which can lock a computer until an extortion fee is paid.
According to security experts, Emotet’s operators often sell access to victims’ computer to other hackers, utilizing a “malware-as-a-service” business model that has made them one of the world’s most prolific and damaging cybercrime groups.
Meanwhile, German police said infections with Emotet had caused at least 14.5 million euros ($22.9 million) of damage in their country.
This is devastating, given the fact that on a global scale, Emotet-linked damages cost about $US2.5 billion ($3.3 billion), Ukrainian authorities said.
To date, Ukraine’s general prosecutor said police had carried out numerous raids in the eastern city of Kharkiv to seize computers used by these hackers.
Upon raid, authorities circulated photos showing piles of bank cards, cash and a room festooned with tangled computer equipment; however there was no confirmation if any arrests were made yet.
(Image source: ABC News)