The joint operation by the FBI and Microsoft to fight against the spreading of Citadel botnet would bear fruit in significant ways: according to the Redmond company, two million infected machines have been liberated from the malware.
In early June, Microsoft and FBI launched an operation to bring down Citadel botnet network operator malwares used in the embezzlement of many financial institutions. Like all botnets, Citadel, once installed on a newly infected machine is capable of making a PC zombie that works without the knowledge of the owner for malicious acts.
5 million machines worldwide have been infected with this virus, but according to Microsoft, the operation in early June would free at least 2 million units of the influence of Citadel. “This is a conservative estimate,” said Richard Domingues Boscovich, Assistant General Counsel for the unity of digital crimes at Microsoft.
In all, there are 1400 networks that were dismantled: different malware in appearance, but all operating Citadel botnet within them, have lost contact with infected machines once their servers command and control got disabled. These PCs were mainly affected in the United States, Europe and Hong Kong.
The fight against Citadel is not yet complete: several millions of computers are still infected with the botnet, which is responsible for the theft of more than $500 million since its inception.