DOJ hopes to put a stop to digital ransom notes.
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WASHINGTON, DC—The Justice Department announced Monday that over the weekend an international law enforcement operation had effectively disrupted a sprawling botnet that delivered “Gameover ZeuS”—a trojan that siphoned passwords to online banking sites from Microsoft Windows computers—as well as the malicious ransomware “Cryptolocker,” which locks individuals out of their own files until they agree to pay ransom to the criminals.
DOJ Deputy Attorney General James Cole described that the US government, along with other governments and private industry players, performed a successful stealth attack on the Gameover ZeuS botnet system, dubbed “Operation Tovar,” that was controlled and maintained by a group of hackers from Russia and Ukraine.
Cole explained that the US obtained both civil and criminal court orders in federal court in Pittsburgh “authorizing measures to redirect the automated requests by victim computers for additional instructions away from the criminal operators to substitute servers established pursuant to court order.” While this order enabled the FBI to help victims remove the Gameover ZeuS malware from their computers, law enforcement did not directly access the contents of victims’ computers, he explained.
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