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US law enforcement busts cybercrime rings with help from Facebook

The malware infected over 11 million computers and caused US$850 million in losses, according to the FBI

U.S. law enforcement agencies with the help of Facebook have arrested 10 persons from various countries in connection with international cybercrime rings that targeted users on the social network.

The operation is said to have identified international cybercrime rings that used various variants of a malware called Yahos. The malware has infected more than 11 million computers and caused over US$850 million in losses through a Butterfly botnet, which steals computer users' credit card, bank account, and other personal identifiable information, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement late Tuesday.

The 10 persons arrested are from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, New Zealand, Peru, the U.K., and the U.S.

Botnets are networks of computers that have been compromised by malware, and can be controlled remotely by cybercriminals to execute a variety of attacks including distributed denial of service.

Facebook's security team assisted the law enforcement agencies in the investigation by helping "to identify the root cause, the perpetrators, and those affected by the malware," FBI said. Yahos targeted Facebook users from 2010 to October this year, and security systems were able to detect affected accounts and provide tools to remove these threats, FBI said.

Besides the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice, law enforcement agencies from other countries were also involved in the operation.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com


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