Global law enforcement takedown disrupts major botnets


Global Law Enforcement Operation Disrupts Major Botnets: Proofpoint’s Role and Impact

Global law enforcement agencies have recently announced the success of Operation Endgame, a massive effort to disrupt malware and botnet infrastructure worldwide. This operation, in collaboration with private sector partners like Proofpoint, targeted notorious botnets such as IcedID, SystemBC, Pikabot, SmokeLoader, Bumblebee, and Trickbot.

According to Europol, this operation is the largest ever against botnets, which are instrumental in the deployment of ransomware. The coordinated action led to the arrest of four individuals, the takedown of over 100 servers across 10 countries, control over 2,000 domains by law enforcement, and the freezing of illegal assets.

Among the malware disrupted, SmokeLoader, a popular downloader with various capabilities, was observed in hundreds of campaigns since 2015. SystemBC, a proxy malware and backdoor, was identified in 2019 and used in ransomware-as-a-service operations. IcedID, initially a banking trojan, has been a loader for other malware, including ransomware.

Pikabot, a malware with two components designed to execute commands and load payloads, was predominantly used by cybercriminal threat actor TA577. Bumblebee, a sophisticated downloader observed dropping ransomware payloads, re-emerged in February 2024 after a brief hiatus.

Proofpoint played a crucial role in this operation by sharing its technical expertise on botnet infrastructure with authorities, identifying patterns in threat actors’ server setups, and providing insights into the biggest malware threats affecting society. Through its unique vantage point, Proofpoint was able to support law enforcement in remediation efforts and provide valuable information on the most impactful malware distribution campaigns.

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