U.S. Leads Multi-National Action Against “Gameover Zeus” Botnet and “Cryptolocker” Ransomware, Charges Botnet Administrator

June 2, 2014 – 6:28 PM

The Justice Department today announced a multi-national effort to disrupt the Gameover Zeus Botnet – a global network of infected victim computers used by cyber criminals to steal millions of dollars from businesses and consumers – and unsealed criminal charges in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Omaha, Nebraska, against an administrator of the botnet.   In a separate action, U.S. and foreign law enforcement officials worked together to seize computer servers central to the malicious software or “malware” known as Cryptolocker, a form of “ransomware” that encrypts the files on victims’ computers until they pay a ransom.
Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, FBI Executive Assistant Director Robert Anderson Jr., U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton of the Western District of Pennsylvania, U.S. Attorney Deborah R. Gilg of the District of Nebraska, and Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Deputy Under Secretary Dr. Phyllis Schneck made the announcement.

Victims of Gameover Zeus may use the following website created by DHS’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) for assistance in removing the malware:   https://www.us-cert.gov/gameoverzeus .

“This operation disrupted a global botnet that had stolen millions from businesses and consumers as well as a complex ransomware scheme that secretly encrypted hard drives and then demanded payments for giving users access to their own files and data,” said Deputy Attorney General Cole.   “We succeeded in disabling Gameover Zeus and Cryptolocker only because we blended innovative legal and technical tactics with traditional law enforcement tools and developed strong working relationships with private industry experts and law enforcement counterparts in more than 10 countries around the world.”

“These schemes were highly sophisticated and immensely lucrative, and the cyber criminals did not make them easy to reach or disrupt,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.   “But under the leadership of the Justice Department, U.S. law enforcement, foreign partners in more than 10 different countries and numerous private sector partners joined together to disrupt both these schemes.   Through these court-authorized operations, we have started to repair the damage the cyber criminals have caused over the past few years, we are helping victims regain control of their own computers, and we are protecting future potential victims from attack.”


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