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Facebook assists FBI in take-down of $850m cybercrime ring

The United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation, in conjunction with Facebook, has brought down an international criminal ring responsible for one of the largest cybercrime campaigns ever seen.

10 people have been arrested for their involvement in spreading the ‘Yahos’ malware and its multiple variants, which infected more than 11 million computer systems. The ‘Butterfly Botnet’ - responsible for driving the malware attacks - steals credit card numbers, bank account details and other personal identifiable information belonging to the user of the compromised device.

The FBI said the attacks caused over $850 million (£527 million) in damage to its victims.

Facebook appears to have been instrumental in resolving the incident, with its security team providing “assistance to law enforcement throughout the investigation by helping to identify the root cause, the perpetrators, and those affected by the malware,” says the FBI. Yahos targeted Facebook users from 2010 to October 2012, giving the social network the intelligence to see how victims were being attacked and supply tools to remove these threats.

The ten arrests included individuals in the UK and US, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, New Zealand and Peru.

Despite the damage already caused, the investigation represents a coup for the FBI and US Department of Justice. Alongside their international counterparts, the organisations are fighting to bring down figures that estimate 1.5 million people are hit by cybercrime every day, with consumer cybercrime costing £69 billion a year. But in our recent analysis, experts involved in the sector told ITProPortal that cybercrime policing remains completely inadequate.