FBI Dismantles Qakbot Botnet and Removes Malware from Over 700,000 Infected Systems

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The FBI and the US Justice Department have executed a multinational operation, codenamed “Duck Hunt,” to dismantle the Qakbot malware and botnet, which had been utilized by cybercriminals across the globe. The operation has successfully neutralized the botnet, with the participation of France, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, Latvia, and the United Kingdom.

During the operation, the FBI gained lawful access to Qakbot’s infrastructure and identified over 700,000 infected computers worldwide, including more than 200,000 in the US. Qakbot infiltrated computers through deceptive emails containing malicious attachments or links. When users interacted with these attachments or links, their computers became part of a remote-controlled network of infected devices, forming a botnet.

FBI Director Christopher Wray stated:

“We have disrupted this extensive criminal supply chain, effectively dismantling it. The victims of Qakbot ranged from financial institutions on the East Coast to a government contractor providing critical infrastructure in the Midwest and a medical device manufacturer on the West Coast.”

To dismantle the botnet, the FBI rerouted Qakbot’s traffic to servers under their control. These servers prompted infected computers to download a specific file designed to remove the Qakbot malware. This action severed the connection between the infected computers and the botnet, preventing further installation of malicious software.

Wray further commented:

“Our success is a testament to the dedicated efforts of FBI Los Angeles, our Cyber Division at FBI Headquarters, and our domestic and international partners. The cyber threats facing our nation are becoming increasingly complex and perilous, but our achievements demonstrate the potency of our network and capabilities.”

The FBI highlighted that Qakbot had played a significant role in ransomware attacks and various cybercrimes that resulted in substantial financial losses, totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. These activities impacted individuals and businesses across the US and worldwide.

Author Profile

Martin Harris
I'm Martin Harris, a tech writer with extensive experience, contributing to global publications. Trained in Computer Science, I merged my technical know-how with writing, becoming a technology journalist. I've covered diverse topics like AI and consumer electronics, contributing to top tech platforms. I participate in tech events for knowledge updating. Besides writing, I enjoy reading, photography, and aim to clarify technology's complexities to readers.

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