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Federal Agents Just Brought Down the World’s Worst Botnet

An international operation led by the Department of Justice has disabled a hacking network that generated losses of more than $100 million in the U.S. since 2011. In an announcement on Monday, the department also disclosed charges against a 30-year-old Russian allegedly behind the Gameover Zeus botnet, a web of hundreds of thousands of infected computers used to steal money from bank accounts.

Gameover Zeus, which first emerged in September 2011, infected somewhere between 500,000 and 1 million computers, putting them in the control of hackers in Russia and Ukraine, according to legal documents (PDF) unsealed today. The main purpose of creating such a network, federal officials said, is to steal banking credentials and then use them to make wire transfers overseas.