European police shut down a virus that infected 3 million computers

Part of the Ramnit botnet codeMicrosoftPart of the Ramnit botnet code.

Police in Europe have shut down a program that infected millions of computers around the world and used them to steal bank account details.

The BBC reports that the Ramnit botnet was shut down in a joint operation involving police from the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, and Italy.

One of the “command-and-control” servers for Ramnit was located in Gosport in Hampshire, a town on the south coast of England. Those kind of servers are used to control a botnet, telling it what to do.

Ramnit was first spotted back in April 2010. A Microsoft blog post says that it managed to infect Microsoft Office files to spread its code around the internet.

The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) says that Ramnet infected 3 million Windows computers worldwide, with around 33,000 devices in the UK affected.

The botnet spread around the internet by posing as normal web links and files. It was hidden in emails and sent via social networks, spreading using computers that it took control of. Once Ramnit got inside a computer, it was able to steal bank account information, passwords, and personal information, and hijack devices to spread itself to more computers.

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