Botnet of a half-million computers taken offline

Hackers joker face
Hackers joker face. Wail Mouhlika / Wikimedia Commons

Europol, the FBI and several European police units took a massive botnet network offline. The network, called avalanche, consisted of some 500 thousand computers and was operated from the Netherlands for a time. Five arrests were made, NOS reports.

According to the broadcaster, the German police launched an investigation into the network four years ago after a large number of computers were infected in Germany. Criminals used the botnet to spread 20 different malicious software, mostly aimed at looting bank accounts. The German investigators discovered that the network was fun from servers in the Netherlands. On Thursday, the Dutch police took those servers offline.

People from 180 different countries fell victim to this botnet. The damage caused is still very unclear, but in Germany alone about 6 million euros in damage was done. 

The Dutch police are still investigating Dutch suspects as well as "money mules" - people who made their bank accounts available to criminals, who receive and send money through those accounts.

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