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With no warning, one of the world’s largest criminal botnets—a massive collection of computers used to launch attacks—has disappeared. Researchers have reported huge drops in traffic for two of the most popular pieces of malware which rely on it.
“We can only tell that the Dridex and Locky spam campaigns stopped since June 1 in our observation. We cannot confirm how the botnet was brought down yet,” Joonho Sa, a researcher for cybersecurity company FireEye, told Motherboard in an email.
Dridex is a piece of malware typically used to empty bank accounts, while Locky is a particularly widespread form of ransomware, which encrypts a victim’s files until they pay a hefty bounty in bitcoin. The two campaigns have been linked in the past.
It’s not clear what exactly will happen to Locky victims now that its infrastructure has seemingly gone offline. There’s a chance that those infected with the ransomware may be unable to successfully pay the criminals and have their files unlocked.