Feds Take Down Russian BotNet

crop hacker silhouette typing on computer keyboard while hacking system

The Justice Department said it managed to disrupt a Russian botnet that infected thousands of network hardware devices all over the world. The feds say the botnet came from the Russian Military.

The court-authorized operation to disrupt the botnet copied and removed the malware from the Internet-connected firewall devices it used to control other devices. While the Justice Department did not access the thousands of infected devices, disabling firewall devices severed the control of other devices.

“This court-authorized removal of malware deployed by the Russian GRU demonstrates the department’s commitment to disrupt nation-state hacking using all of the legal tools at our disposal,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “By working closely with WatchGuard and other government agencies in this country and the United Kingdom to analyze the malware and to develop detection and remediation tools, we are together showing the strength that public-private partnership brings to our country’s cybersecurity. The department remains committed to confronting and disrupting nation-state hacking, in whatever form it takes.”

“Through close collaboration with WatchGuard and our law enforcement partners, we identified, disrupted and exposed yet another example of the Russian GRU’s hacking of innocent victims in the United States and around the world,” said U.S. Attorney Cindy K. Chung for the Western District of Pennsylvania. “Such activities are not only criminal but also threaten the national security of the United States and its allies. My office remains committed to working with our partners in the National Security Division, the FBI, foreign law enforcement agencies and the private sector to defend and maintain our nation’s cybersecurity.”

“This operation is an example of the FBI’s commitment to combatting cyber threats through our unique authorities, capabilities, and coordination with our partners,” said Assistant Director Bryan Vorndran of the FBI’s Cyber Division. “As the lead domestic law enforcement and intelligence agency, we will continue pursuing cyber actors that threaten the national security and public safety of the American people, our private sector partners and our international partners.”

“The FBI prides itself on working closely with our law enforcement and private sector partners to expose criminals who hide behind their computer and launch attacks that threaten Americans’ safety, security and confidence in our digitally connected world,” said Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall of the FBI’s Pittsburgh Field Office. “The FBI has an unwavering commitment to combat and disrupt Russia’s efforts to gain a foothold inside U.S. and allied networks.”

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