Facebook’s Security Team corroborated with the FBI to take down 10 people associated with spreading banking malware on Facebook, collecting approximately $850 million from fraudulent transactions. The criminals were located in 5 countries, from New Zealand to the US, masterminding this operation since 2010. Codenamed “Yahos”, the botnet compromised over 11 million systems through instant messages from fake Facebook accounts. The FBI remains tight-lipped about the incident, save for where suspects for arrested and their acknowledgement of Facebook’s cooperation in bringing down the operation.
“Cyber criminals are taking full advantage of our growing desire to use social media, so it’s great to see big companies like Facebook working closely with law enforcement. Not only will this serve as a warning to cyber criminals, but it will decrease the amount of malware which is posted on social networks and designed to steal everything from personal details to bank account details… The simplest way to keep safe on social networks is to make sure you question every link sent to you, even when it’s from a friend as these can often take you straight to threats. In addition, keep your anti-malware software up to date to ensure the latest stealthy spyware stays away from your PC.”
– Malwarebytes CEO Marcin Kleczynski to CBR
The fact remains that user error, naivete and manipulation is still overwhelmingly the number one reason for breaches and cyber attacks across the board, due to a lack of awareness. If one goes on a safari to the Serengeti, usually they prepare adequately with not only supplies, but navigation intstruments. Exploring the web should be treated with the same level of preparation and knowledge, as it just as much a wilderness as any expedition you’ll embark upon. Botnets specifically, with the ability to spread like wildfire among systems through means such as instant messaging allows hackers to send out mass Emails and trojans through infected computers, turning a small operation into(in this case) almost a billion dollar operation.