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article imageTarget Emotet: International actions to address botnet threat Special

By Tim Sandle     Feb 3, 2021 in Technology
An international group of law enforcement officials, including the U.S. Department of Justice and Europol, announced a large operation to take down the infrastructure of Emotet. A raid and arrests have taken place.
Emotet is one of the biggest producers of botnets in the world. A botnet is a network of private computers infected with malicious software and controlled as a group without the owners' knowledge, such as to send spam.
The necessary action required the cooperation of a large multinational group, led by Ukrainian law enforcement, because Emotet’s infrastructure included several hundreds of servers located across the world, each with different functions and capabilities that helped manage the computers of infected victims, spread to new ones, serve other criminal groups and make the network more resilient against takedown attempts, according to European law enforcement agency Europol.
The video below shows the raid on Emotet's base of operations, by Ukrainian police:
To understand the significance of the action, Digital Journal asked Open Systems (a networking and cybersecurity provider) for an insight.
As Ric Longenecker, the Chief Information Security Officer for Open Systems explains: “Like many in the industry, we were exceptionally happy with the hard work and coordination of the multiple countries that initiated the takedown of Emotet and those behind it. Emotet really represented the start of cybercrime-as-a-service – a concerning trend that we see not only continuing, but growing."
As an example of the seriousness of the risk, Longenecker explains: "In fact, Open Systems has detected – and contained – a 57 percent increase in cybercrime-as-a-service attacks in the last 30 days. And our data indicates that 80 percent of these attacks within the last 90 days targeted higher education; companies in the financial services sector and non-profit organizations were among the other top targets."
This leads the analyst to advise: "Organizations should strongly consider improving their operational security as such cyber risks increase.”
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