International Team-Up Thwarts Crafty 'Beebone' Botnet

A collaboration between Europol, the FBI, and private security firms took down a sophisticated virus which had infected at least 12,000 computers.

International Team-Up Thwarts Crafty 'Beebone' Botnet
Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

Another sophisticated network of hijacked computers, or botnet, has fallen, thanks to an international collaboration of digital crime-fighting groups.

The AAEH, or "Beebone," botnet had a relatively small scope. Authorities estimate 12,000 computers had been infected with the virus, mostly in the U.S. The botnet's operator used Beebone as a backdoor to install other types of malware onto infected machines.

But security groups had trouble rooting out Beebone; the virus could frequently transform itself to avoid detection. Additionally, each infected computer had two programs working in tandem, so if one program was erased, the other could re-download it.

Tracking down the botnet operators required an international team of both public and private organizations, including the FBI, Europol, Kaspersky Labs and Intel Security. Those groups worked to hunt down all of the computers orchestrating Beebone attacks and pull them offline.

It's the latest in a string of successful anti-botnet operations. Over the past few years, authorities have pulled down larger networks like GameOverZeus, ZeroAccess and Grum. 

Although Beebone isn't the largest of these networks, an Ars Technica writer says it helps "demonstrate the growing ability of police and private industry to launch highly coordinated operations" against criminal groups.

According to Europol, no arrests have been made in connection with the botnet.

This video includes an image from Getty Images.