FBI Takes Down Botnet That Targeted Facebook Users

International law enforcement agencies have arrested ten individuals for their part in an $850 million scheme.
Posted December 12, 2012

Cynthia Harvey

Working together with law enforcement agencies in several other countries, the FBI has announced the arrest of ten people accused of setting up a botnet that targeted Facebook users. The crime scheme reportedly brought in $850 million.

Dark Reading reported, "The Department of Justice and the FBI, along with international law enforcement partners, announced the arrests of 10 individuals from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, New Zealand, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the United States and the execution of numerous search warrants and interviews. The operation identified international cyber crime rings that are linked to multiple variants of the Yahos malicious software, or malware, which is linked to more than 11 million compromised computer systems and over $850 million in losses via the Butterfly Botnet, which steals computer users’ credit card, bank account, and other personal identifiable information."

Ars Technica's Sean Gallagher explained, "In the latest incarnation of Butterfly, the botnet spread itself using variants of Yahos, a virus that spreads itself by sending links via social networks and instant messaging. Victims clicked on the link, launching Yahos' attack. The malware, which in some variants disguised itself as an NVIDIA video driver, then downloaded and installed the botnet controls and browser exploits that captured users' credit card and bank account information. The spread of viruses like Yahos prompted Facebook to partner with McAfee in 2010 to provide tools to users to clean infected systems."

Gizmodo's Leslie Horn noted, "Facebook has been aiding the FBI since 2010, when Yahos first started victimizing its users using a butterfly botnet."

The Register's Brid-Aine Parnell added, "The creator of the Butterfly botnet was already caught and one of that botnet's customers was the now arrested group of crooks behind the infamous Mariposa botnet. Luis Corrons Granel, a researcher at Panda Security, suggested to The Reg that it's possible that those arrests led to the cybercriminals behind Yahos."

Tags: Facebook, botnet, virus, FBI, hack attacks

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