The FBI has managed to disrupt a number of botnets. That’s what the federal police did as part of an operation to tackle fraudsters. The network that is now disrupted manipulated the Internet traffic of up to 1.7 million IP addresses and generated nearly 30 million dollars in revenue from fraudulent advertisements.

During the operation, the FBI took 89 servers and 31 domains offline. The botnets were shut down and the bank accounts that appeared to be linked to the botnets were also requisitioned. In addition, six Russians and two Kazakhs have been charged, with three of the suspects already arrested and the other five fugitives.

Large network

The suspects had a platform called 3ve that allowed them to place advertisements on sites. They told companies that their advertisements and sites had a large reach. But the traffic was generated by the suspects themselves. They did this by spreading two types of malware.

If that malware was placed on a user’s device, the computer was forced to visit 3ve’s domain names. The users hardly noticed this, because the computers surfed on the internet through hidden browsers. The perpetrators also made sure that the hacked computers also scrolled through the pages. This made it look like someone was actually surfing the sites. So companies didn’t know anything about it, but paid money for the advertisements on 3ve’s sites.

Not only did the FBI work on the investigation, the Dutch police were also involved. The exact role played by the police is not certain; it does not appear that Dutch computer users have been affected. The Finnish security company F-Secure also cooperated in the investigation. Whether or not 3ve is completely disabled is not certain. In any case, the malware could be used to rebuild a new botnet.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.