The social media giant, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), helped the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) bust an international crime ring that tainted 11 million computers around the globe and caused losses of $850 million in total, one of the biggest cyber-crime hauls in the history.
The FBI, who was assisted by Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), along with several International law enforcement agencies, took into custody 10 individuals, whom the Bureau said infected computer with ‘Yahos’ and Butterfly botnet malicious software, and stole credit card, bank, and other personal information. The accused hackers engaged the “Butterfly Botnets” according to the agency, which worked also with the U.S. department of Justice. Botnet is a name given to networks compromised of computers which can be used in a wide range of cyber attacks on personal computers.
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“Facebook’s security team provided assistance to law enforcement throughout the investigation by helping to identify the root cause, the perpetrators, and those affected by the malware,” the FBI said in a statement. “Yahos targeted Facebook users from 2010 to October 2012, and security systems were able to detect affected accounts and provide tools to remove these threats”.
The FBI disclosed that arrests were made in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, New Zealand, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The FBI said that it a conducted series of interviews and executed a number of search warrants. The U.S. federal agency said in a statement on its website that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) helped the FBI, after the criminals targeted its users with ‘Yahos’ from October 2010 to October 2012. Facebook helped to spot criminals as well as the affected accounts.
Its “security systems were able to detect affected accounts and provide tools to remove these threats,” the FBI said.
Though the FBI did not say anything on how it arrived at the whopping figure of $850 million, this case leaves behind the Eurograbber, disclosed last week to have stolen about $47 million from European banking customers in previous years. The Yahos spoils leaves behind the Zeus botnet crime ring, which infected around 13 million computers with malware to steal more than $100 million.
Though there cannot be an exact record as to the number of cyber crimes committed, experts say that the crime is on the rise around the world. The reason of an increasing number of cyber-attacks could be attributed to more prevalent PC and mobile computing, and the increasing number of financial transaction done online, making it tougher for law enforcement, cyber security professionals, and targeted corporations to spot and eliminate the attacks.