Facebook helps FBI smash global 11 million-strong botnet

Summary:Social network Facebook has assisted worldwide law enforcement agencies to crack a botnet that is thought to have infected 11 million machines, and raked in more than $850 million.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI, with help from international law enforcement agencies, have arrested 10 suspects involved in a cybercrime ring related to a global botnet that infected more than 11 million machines worldwide.

The arrests came from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, New Zealand, Peru, the U.K. and the U.S., after numerous search warrants and interviews were executed.

According to the FBI, Facebook's security teams provided assistance to law enforcement and the U.S. Justice Dept. throughout the investigation to help identify the root cause of the botnet, the perpetrators, and which users were affected by the malware. Facebook has more than 1 billion monthly users on the social network.

With help from Facebook, the FBI found millions of machines were infected with variants of the Yahos malware, which targeted Facebook users from 2010-2012, which was linked to the Butterfly botnet, which steals credit card, bank details, and other personal identifiable information on infected machines.

It is thought to be one of the largest botnets and international criminal rings in history, raking in more than $850 million in total losses. The FBI did not elaborate on the details of the criminals' activities, however.

In July, Microsoft helped crack open the Zeus botnet crime ring, after the software giant released the names of suspects it believed were involved in infecting more than 13 million machines to steal upwards of $100 million.

Also earlier this year, a Facebook worm stole more than 45,000 Facebook login credentials from the site. Dubbed the Ramnit worm, most of those affected came from France and the U.K., and had the capability to infect Windows PCs, Office documents and HTML files.

(via Reuters)

Topics: Security, Malware, Outage, PCs

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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