(The Hill) — The Justice Department says the FBI was able to “disrupt” malware that had infected more than 700,000 computers across the world.
“The FBI led a worldwide joint, sequenced operation that crippled one of the longest-running cybercriminal botnets,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a Tuesday press release.
“With our federal and international partners, we will continue to systematically target every part of cybercriminal organizations, their facilitators, and their money — including by disrupting and dismantling their ability to use illicit infrastructure to attack us,” Wray continued. “Today’s success is yet another demonstration of how FBI’s capabilities and strategy are hitting cyber criminals hard, and making the American people safer.”
The malware, named Qakbot, turned victim computers into part of a “botnet” or “a network of compromised computers, meaning the perpetrators can remotely control all the infected computers in a coordinated manner,” the Justice Department said.
“Cybercriminals who rely on malware like Qakbot to steal private data from innocent victims have been reminded today that they do not operate outside the bounds of the law,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement also in the release. “Together with our international partners, the Justice Department has hacked Qakbot’s infrastructure, launched an aggressive campaign to uninstall the malware from victim computers in the United States and around the world, and seized $8.6 million in extorted funds.”