Cyber security teams from across 35 countries, including Microsoft, have dismantled one of the world’s largest network of bots.
The network, called Necurs, is believed to have infected more than nine million computers worldwide.
A botnet is a network of infected devices, connected to the Internet, used to commit coordinated cyber attacks without their owner’s knowledge.
Necurs is believed to be operated by criminals based in Russia and has also been used for a wide range of crimes including pump-and-dump stock scams, fake pharmaceutical spam email and “Russian dating” scams. It has also been used to attack other computers on the internet, steal credentials for online accounts, and steal people’s personal information and confidential data.
Interestingly, it seems the criminals behind Necurs sell or rent access to the infected computer devices to other cybercriminals as part of a botnet-for-hire service. Necurs is also known for distributing financially targeted malware and ransomware, cryptomining, and even has a DDoS (distributed denial of service) capability that has not yet been activated but could be at any moment.
Cyber criminals can use botnets to remotely take over internet-connected devices and install malicious software. This malware can then be used to send spam, collect information on users, and delete information without the owner’s knowledge.
In a blog, Tom Burt, vice-president for customer security and trust at Microsoft, said the takedown was the result of eight years planning.
Malware is malicious software, which can cause harm to computers.
To make sure your computer is free of malware, visit support.microsoft.com/botnets.