The last day of November was also the last day of activity for one of the largest cybercrime platforms in the world. Dubbed Operation Avalanche, this extremely complex, cross-jurisdiction, cross-industry takedown has finally taken place after almost five years of investigation.
Led by Europol and its global partners, Operation Avalanche has disrupted the command and control of 20 big botnets, including Goznym, Marcher, Dridex, Matsnu, URLZone, XSWKit, and Pandabanker, as well as newer and better known ones such as the Cerber or Teslacrypt families of crypto-ransomware. Throughout its years of operation, the Avalanche cybercrime platform -- which involved more than 500,000 computers every day -- has yielded hundreds of millions of Euros in revenue for its operators.
During the takedown, Europol seized, sinkholed, or blocked over 800,000 Web domains used by malware to call home, confiscated over 30 servers, and put offline more than 220 servers via abuse notification protocols.
As of Dec. 1, all the computers infected with any of these 20 malware families can’t receive commands from cybercriminals. Still, while this operation marks an unprecedented achievement in botnet takedowns, it does not make malware magically disappear from infected computers.
To support the cleanup, Bitdefender has released a free disinfection toolkit that detects and eliminates these 20 malware families. All you need to do is download it, start a scan, grab a cup of coffee, and let it work its magic. If you have friends or family who use PCs to surf the Web, ask them to run a proactive scan as well. The more computers that get clean, the smaller the chance of the botnet resurfacing from the dead.