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Coppers shutter the world’s largest malware network

by on30 May 2024

Stole $5.9bn

Coppers from all over the world have fingered the collar of a global malware network which stole $5.9bn (£4.65bn) and is linked to other crime.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) partnered with the FBI and other international agencies to take down what was "likely the world’s largest botnet ever”.

Chinese national YunHe Wang, who is also a St Kitts and Nevis citizen, has been charged with creating and operating the network.

A botnet is a network of computers which have been infected with malware and are being controlled by a malicious actor.

Wang is charged with conspiracy to commit computer fraud, substantive computer fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

He faces a maximum penalty of 65 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

According to the indictment, between 2014 to 2022, Wang and others created and operated the botnet, called 911 S5, from about 150 servers around the world.

The DOJ said that the botnet had been hacked into more than 19 million Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in almost 200 countries.

The botnet was used to carry out cyber attacks, large-scale fraud, child exploitation, harassment, bomb threats and export violations, the DOJ said.

The US estimated that more than half a million fraudulent unemployment insurance claims had originated from compromised IP addresses, resulting in a loss of more than $5.9bn.

The DOJ said the network also enabled cybercriminals to buy goods with stolen credit cards or launder money.

Wang allegedly sold access to the IP addresses and received approximately $99m, the DOJ said.

He bought property in the US, St Kitts and Nevis, China, Singapore, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.

The DOJ said that Assets worth around $60m have been seized or identified for seizure, including a Ferrari, a Rolls-Royce and several watches.

Law enforcement agencies in Singapore and Thailand and technology giant Microsoft were among the organisations that helped with the investigation.


Last modified on 31 May 2024
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