Law enforcement agencies from around the world, including the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and the FBI, collaborated in an operation designed to disrupt the powerful Gameover Zeus botnet and seize servers supporting to the infamous malware known as CryptoLocker.
“This big, and very successful, operation has been an important test of the EU Member States’ ability to act fast, decisively and coordinated against a dangerous criminal network that has been stealing money and information from victims in the EU and all over the globe,” EC3’s Troels Oerting, said.
“Over many days and nights cyber police from several EU countries in EC3 operation rooms maximized the impact of this joint investigation. We get better and better after each such operation, and many more will undoubtedly follow.”
Gameover Zeus is the extremely troublesome malware designed to steal banking account logins and other credentials from infected systems, and estimates indicate that somewhere in the neighborhood of 500,000 to 1 million computers are compromised globally, with documented losses nearing 75 million euros.
“The Gameover Zeus network of infected computers also distributes the ransomware known as CryptoLocker. In October last year, EC3 sent out an alert concerning CryptoLocker which encrypts all files of the victim’s computer, extorting an amount of USD 750 or more to receive the password necessary to unlock the files,” a Europol statement said.
“Security researchers estimate that, as of April 2014, CryptoLocker had infected more than 234,000 computers. Furthermore, the FBI estimates that over USD 27 million in ransom payments were made in just the first two months since it emerged.”
Nations that participated in the joint-operation include the U.S., Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Germany, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Ukraine and the U.K.
“No internet user should have to fear becoming a victim of extortion or banking fraud. This joint operation clearly demonstrates how important it is to cooperate across borders to tackle cybercrime – because no country is an island,” said EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem.
“By having the European Cybercrime Centre go after these criminals, we are making the internet more secure. But with the mounting threats ahead, is more important than ever to intensify this cooperation.”
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