An international law enforcement operation has disrupted the Qakbot botnet, a powerful tool used by criminals to steal data, spread malware, and launch ransomware attacks.

The operation, which was led by the FBI and involved partners in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, Latvia, and the United Kingdom, was able to seize control of Qakbot’s infrastructure and remove the malware from over 700,000 infected computers worldwide.

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“Cybercriminals who rely on malware like Qakbot to steal private data from innocent victims have been reminded today that they do not operate outside the bounds of the law,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Together with our international partners, the Justice Department has hacked Qakbot’s infrastructure, launched an aggressive campaign to uninstall the malware from victim computers in the United States and around the world, and seized $8.6 million in extorted funds.”

Qakbot is a sophisticated piece of malware that can be used to steal passwords, banking information, and other sensitive data. It can also be used to spread other malware, such as ransomware, which encrypts a victim’s files and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them.

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