Their worldwide spread criminal activities have now been taken down
Criminal activities are not limited to just one place anymore. It is widely known that criminal activities are spread all over the world, same as internet-based schemes. It is hard to do a shakedown or crackdown of these crooks due to the fact that international law and how it is enforced varies from country to country. Even the infrastructure and its design can actually hide and help facilitate the crime. Up to a certain extent, the administrators of the networks themselves might be involved and help run the activities.
It is a never-ending cat-and-mouse chase among governments and agencies. However this instance, the FBI with its domestic and international partners were able to formulate and target the Avalanche Criminal Network.
These criminals use secure infrastructure for their servers which allowed them to conduct “money mules” money laundering schemes which target first world countries like USA, UK, Australia, and even targets whatever victim they can.
The Avalanche network was specifically designed to thwart detection by law enforcement. It used to be perceived as impenetrable, but it turned out that time was all was needed to figure them out.
And late last week, the FBI took part in a successful multi-national operation to dismantle Avalanche, alongside our law enforcement partners representing 40 countries and with the cooperation of private sector partners.
The investigation involved arrests and searches in four countries, the seizing of servers, and the unprecedented effort to sinkhole more than 800,000 malicious domains associated with the network.
The daily reach of infection per day done by the Avalanche Network is estimated to be around half a million per day. The damage and monetary losses due to the malware has not yet been determined.
No country is safe and lots of computer users have been victimized. The FBI’s Cyber Division and the collaboration with various international law enforcement partners efforts wielded a successful outcome.
Crime has evolved to organized cyber crime.
Researchers were able to figure out a pattern on how their criminal campaigns work. A few of them are done via phishing and spam campaigns. Victims unknowingly get infected unintentionally after they have opened bad links in e-mails or downloaded malicious attachments.
They target to steal online banking credentials and other personal information they deem valuable.
Said information is then redirected through the intricate network of Avalanche servers to back-end servers controlled by the cyber criminals and monetized.
They have also distributed ransomware. So what does that mean? Once affected by ransomware, files and other computer data becomes encrypted and will only be decrypted once a ransom has been paid.
Other types of malware stole victims’ sensitive banking credentials, which were used to initiate fraudulent wire transfers. And in terms of the money laundering schemes, highly organized networks of money mules purchased goods with the stolen funds, enabling the cyber criminals to launder the illicit proceeds of their malware attacks.
How did these cyber criminals hear about the Avalanche network in the first place? Access to the network was advertised through postings—similar to advertisements—on exclusive underground online criminal forums.
Us the regular computer users need to try our best to secure our own devices and computers. Businesses and other organizations need to do their part to protect themselves from malware and other crafty threats The rest would the job the law enforcement agencies for each and every country to track and hunt down the cyber crooks to keep the internet and cyberspace safe.
For now, let us not be lenient that a cyber criminal network got taken down. There are a lot more out there and newer threats are being developed as we speak.