The Internet just got a little safer, thanks to a task force of public and private cybercrime fighters from the U.S. and Europe that has shut down a network of servers that was spreading particularly nasty malware.

The Beebone botnet is known to have infected at least 12,000 computers, although the real number is likely much higher, according to Europol, the EU’s law-enforcement agency. The task force included Europol, the FBI, Intel Security, Kaspersky, and others.

Malware spread by the now-defunct network included cryptolocker programs that would encrypt users' personal files and demand a ransom to restore them, according to US-CERT (U.S.-based Computer Emergency Readiness Team). Beebone, also known as AAEH, was also responsible for “fake antivirus” programs that demanded money to clean your computer of the malware it placed there, as well as password-stealing malware.

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This takedown should reduce the incidence of these damaging infections, at least until cyber-criminal hackers figure out another way to spread their malware.

You can reduce your computer's “attack profile” by following our suggested practices.

Take a look as well at GetSafeOnline.org, which provides several tools you can use specifically to search for the effects of botnets like Beebone.

—Dean Gallea

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