Europol said Monday the FBI worked in close cooperation with the Luneburg Central Criminal Investigation Inspectorate in Germany, Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), the Joint Cybercrime Action Task Force (J-CAT), Eurojust and private-sector partners to dismantle one of the longest running malware families in existence called Andromeda (also known as Gamarue).
The operation was coordinated from the command post hosted at Europol’s HQ.
This widely distributed malware created a network of infected computers called the Andromeda botnet. According to Microsoft, Andromeda’s main goal was to distribute other malware families.
Andromeda was associated with 80 malware families and, in the last six months, it was detected on or blocked an average of over 1 million machines every month. Andromeda was also used in the infamous Avalanche network, which was dismantled in a huge international cyber operation in 2016.
“This is another example of international law enforcement working together with industry partners to tackle the most significant cyber criminals and the dedicated infrastructure they use to distribute malware on a global scale,” said Steven Wilson, the Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre.
“The clear message is that public-private partnerships can impact these criminals and make the internet safer for all of us,” he added.
Jointly, the international partners took action against servers and domains, which were used to spread the Andromeda malware. Overall, 1500 domains of the malicious software were subject to sinkholing (the redirection of traffic from its original destination to one specified by the sinkhole owners).
The measures to combat the malicious Andromeda software as well as the extension of the Avalanche measures involved the following EU Member States: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the following non-EU Member States: Australia, Belarus, Canada, Montenegro, Singapore and Taiwan.
The operation was supported by the following private and institutional partners: Shadowserver Foundation, Microsoft, Registrar of Last Resort, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and associated domain registries, Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing and Ergonomics (FKIE), and the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI).