An international police operation including The Netherlands has taken out Qakbot, one of the world’s largest botnets and an international source of malware.
“Duck Hunt” – the biggest operation ever, according to the Dutch police – reportedly deactivated the infrastructure of Qakbot last Friday night. It was run by authorities in the United States, the Netherlands, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Romania and Latvia.
According to the U.S attorney’s office in the Central District of California, the malicious code – which could be used to steal data and blackmail people – is being deleted from victims’ computers, while authorities also seized $8.6 million in extorted funds.
In the Netherlands, 22 servers were confiscated linked to Qakbot, and in France and Germany, six and eight servers respectively were taken offline. The bot, also known as Qbot and Pinkslipbot, has been used to employ ransomware, other financial fraud and crimes, according to Dutch police.
What made it so dangerous was that it “opened the door to other forms of cybercrime”, spreading its malware since 2008 through millions of so-called phishing emails – with a link that would install the malware if inadvertently clicked upon.
The Dutch police said that 7.6 billion stolen email addresses and log-in codes had been “made safe”. People can check whether their own data is part of the dataset and their devices were potentially compromised at the site: https://www.politie.nl/informatie/checkjehack.html.
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