Europol says it disabled FluBot botnet infecting 'huge' number of devices

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Jun 2, 2022 | CYBERSCOOP

The European Union’s law enforcement agency announced Wednesday that an operation involving 11 countries led to its recent takedown of a fast-spreading mobile malware known as FluBot.

The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, popularly known as Europol, said in a web post that the Android malware has been “spreading aggressively through SMS [text messages], stealing passwords, online banking details and other sensitive information from infected smartphones across the world.”

The malware’s infrastructure was disrupted last month by the Dutch Police, according to Europol, which said the Dutch success at inactivating the malware strain was the culmination of a highly technical investigation involving law enforcement from the U.S., Australia and eight European countries. Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre coordinated the complex interagency probe.

Europol said FluBot first emerged in late 2020 and built momentum in 2021, ultimately compromising what it called a “huge” number of devices worldwide, including via especially significant incidents in Spain and Finland.

FluBot leveraged victims’ text messaging to infect their phones, the Europol announcement said.

While Europol heralded its multi-jurisdictional team’s success in taking out FluBot, history suggests the botnet, or network of infected computers, could

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