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December 13, 2012

Facebook Helps FBI Bust Cyber-Crime Ring

The FBI teamed up with Facebook’s Security Unit to put out of commission an international cyber-crime ring linked to more than 11 million compromised computer systems globally causing more than $850 million in losses.

The FBI, leading a team comprising the Department of Justice and several international law enforcement agencies, has arrested 10 people linked to the use of the Butterfly Botnet, also known as Yahos, which pilfered computer users’ credit cards, bank accounts, and other personal identifiable information.

Facebook’s security team assisted the FBI after Yahos targeted its users from 2010 to October 2012, the FBI said in a press release.

“Facebook’s security team provided assistance to law enforcement throughout the investigation by helping to identify the root cause, the perpetrators, and those affected by the malware,” the FBI said.

The social network’s “security systems were able to detect affected accounts and provide tools to remove these threats.”

The FBI said it has detained 10 people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, New Zealand, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the United States, executed “numerous search warrants” and conducted copious interviews.

The FBI described botnets, short for robot network, as being made up of compromised computer systems that are then used by cyber-criminals to “execute distributed denial of service attacks, send spam e-mails, and conduct underground organized criminal activity, to include malware distribution.”

The agency is also recommending computer users update their applications and operating system on a regular basis “to reduce the risk of compromise and perform regular anti-virus scanning of their computer system.”

The FBI also urges users to disconnect personal computers from the Internet when the machines are not in use.

Computer users who have been victimized should file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.