After four years of intense investigation a group of international law enforcement agencies from thirty countries led by the German prosecutors have broken a huge cybercriminal network known as “Avalanche,” arresting five people, seizing five servers and more than 800,000 Internet domains. Avalanche had been in existence since 2009 during which time it leased its services to other cybercriminals to enable them to create botnets of hacked computers to distribute a variety of malware including ransomware as well as malware used to access victims’ bank accounts. Millions of dollars were stolen through the Avalanche network. Prior to its operations being stopped, Avalanche networks sent out more than a million malware infected emails every week and infected new computers at a rate of 500,000 every day. If you did not lose money as a direct result of being a victim of the Avalanche network, your computer still may have been hacked and made a part of the botnets used by the cybercriminals using the Avalanche network.
Perhaps the best aspect of the breaking of the Avalanche network is the fact that international law enforcement from thirty countries were able to work together in a concerted effort to apprehend the cybercriminals and break down their criminal enterprise. The defeat of cybercrime will require continued international cooperation in order to be successful.
But what does Avalanche specifically mean to you?
With so many millions of infected computers around the world, there is a good chance that your computer could have been infected and made a part of the botnets created and used by Avalanche. Federal authorities are recommending that you immediately perform security scans of your computers and other electronic devices to determine if your devices were infected and to remove any infections found. The Department of Homeland Security suggested, without endorsing any particular company, the following free software security programs that you can use to determine if your computer is safe or not. It is also important to note that Avalanche only infected computers using the Windows Operating System.
Here are links to security programs you can use: