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Thursday, 28 January 2021 10:22

Europe, North America jointly disrupt activities of Emotet botnet Featured

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Europe, North America jointly disrupt activities of Emotet botnet Image by JohnArtsz from Pixabay

Authorities in a number of European countries, along with the US and Canada, have disrupted the activities of the Emotet botnet.

A statement from Europol said Emotet had been first used as a banking trojan in 2014 and later evolved into the entry point for many cyber criminals over the years.

"Once this unauthorised access was established, these were sold to other top-level criminal groups to deploy further illicit activities such data theft and extortion through ransomware," the statement said.

The malware was delivered to victims through email, using malicious Microsoft Word documents.

"Once a user opened one of these documents, they could be prompted to 'enable macros' so that the malicious code hidden in the Word file could run and install the Emotet malware on a victim’s computer," Europol said.

Emotet was also offered as a service and used to install other ransomware or trojans, in what is known as a loader operation.

Europol said Emotet used hundreds of servers spread across the globe and the takedown had to be effected from within.

"To severely disrupt the Emotet infrastructure, law enforcement teamed up together to create an effective operational strategy," the police force said.

"It resulted in this week’s action whereby law enforcement and judicial authorities gained control of the infrastructure and took it down from the inside.

"The infected machines of victims have been redirected towards this law enforcement-controlled infrastructure. This is a unique and new approach to effectively disrupt the activities of the facilitators of cyber crime."


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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