Police Take Down Emotet Hacking Network

Police forces from UK, USA, EU, and Canada have worked together to finally take down one of the most dangerous hacking networks known as Emotet.

Emotet obtain access illegally to victim’s devices via malicious email attachments and then sell to criminal organisations who then install further, more dangerous malware.

Europol have commented saying that it is “one of most significant botnets of the past decade” and a main “door opener” for computer systems worldwide. “Once this unauthorised access was established, these were sold to other top-level criminal groups to deploy further illicit activities such as data theft and extortion through ransomware.”

Emotet was initially designed as a trojan horse for banking. It was designed to capture information and steal login details.

The person affected would receive a Word document sent to them directly. When this document was opened a prompt would pop up asking them to enable Macros. Once this was enabled it would open their computer to attack. Enabling Macros is a legitimate feature built into Microsoft programs such as Excel or Word. Unfortunately, Emotet had tampered with this so it would enable malware to be released on the device.

It is reported to be the most common malware sent out in 2020. Over the past year it is estimated that it has sent phishing emails with more than 150,000 different subject lines and 100,000 file names for the attachments. These emails were constantly adjusted to current world events and interests of the recipients to entice them to fall victim. Examples where Covid news or Black Friday deals!

The takedown of Emotet is a considerable success that could prevent the collective loss of millions of dollars from the public across the world. Although this is good news there are other operations such as this still happening. Phishing attacks are not going away any time soon! Remain vigilant and always check the source of the email to make sure it is legitimate before opening attachments.