The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Monday that two massive schemes used by cyber criminals to defraud the public, the Gameover Zeus virus and Cryptolocker ransomware, were successfully disrupted, thanks to a "multinational effort" that included the FBI.
Gameover Zeus is malware that infects computers and directs them to send the owners' banking information to servers belonging to criminals. The criminals then used that information to wire money to their own accounts. The virus also used the infected computers to send requests for more instructions to the illicit servers, enabling the criminals to use them for other illegal activities, as well.
The DOJ estimates that Gameover Zeus, known as a "botnet" because it strings infected computers into a network, aided thieves in stealing more than $100 million from unwary computer users. A federal grand jury indicted Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev of the Russian Federation on 14 counts of computer hacking, conspiracy, bank fraud, and money laundering.
Bogachev was also charged in connection with Cryptolocker ransomware, which was piggybacked on the Gameover Zeus virus. Cryptolocker places encryption on its victims' computer files, which cannot be recovered without paying a ransom in return for the encryption key.
A federal court issued orders to redirect the infected computers to servers operated by the FBI. The FBI will provide these computers' internet addresses to international law-enforcement agencies, in order to help victims in other countries to remove the virus.
According to the DOJ website, "Victims of Gameover Zeus may use the following website created by DHS’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) for assistance in removing the malware: www.us-cert.gov/gameoverzeus.