Facebook helps FBI take down $850M botnet crime ring

FBI credits the social-networking giant with helping take down the suspects behind one of the largest cybercrime hauls in history.

Facebook helped the FBI take down an international crime ring that used a botnet to infect 11 million computers and steal more than $850 million, one of the largest cybercrime hauls in history.

The FBI announced today that with the social-networking giant's assistance, it had arrested 10 people from countries around the world who it said used the Yahos malware and Butterfly botnet to steal victims' credit card, bank account, and personal information.

"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 said the arrests occurred in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, New Zealand, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

CNET has contacted Facebook for more information about the role it played in the investigation and will update this report when we learn more. While it was unclear how or where Facebook identified the suspects and victims, the social-networking giant is no stranger to malware. A worm wiggling around the social network last year reportedly made off with the usernames and passwords of more than 45,000 users .

The FBI did not elaborate on how it arrived at its $850 million theft figure, but that haul easily dwarfs the Eurograbber, which was revealed last week to have stolen about $47 million from European banking customers in the past year. The Yahos spoils also surpass the take by the Zeus botnet crime ring, which infected an estimated 13 million computers with malware to steal more than $100 million .

 

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