Home > Our Products > Facebook Helps FBI in Catching the Culprits behind the Butterfly Botnet

Facebook Helps FBI in Catching the Culprits behind the Butterfly Botnet

The rise in popularity of social networking site Facebook has been unprecedented and unmatched. Consequently, Facebook has, by default, painted a target on itself for the hackers. With millions of users using the social networking site, it is attracting hackers like flies to food. The site is also very concerned about the security and privacy of its users. A number of advanced security protocols have been implemented over the years. However, time and again, hackers get the better of these protocols and score a hit. But Facebook is determined to bring them to justice.

In an unprecedented move, the social networking giant helped the Federal Bureau of Investigation to catch a group of hackers who were responsible for the Butterfly botnet. This botnet group was very lethal and caused a lot of financial and privacy damages. The association of Facebook in the investigation and subsequent snaring of this cybercriminal group was confirmed by an official statement from the authorities.


Facebook Helps FBI


A Little about the Butterfly Botnet Group

You are all aware of what a botnet is. It is malicious software that employs a group of computers to conduct security breaches. This group is in turn controlled by a third party controller. The Butterfly Botnet also operated on similar lines. The reason why Facebook was so interested in this botnet was that it was using Facebook as a platform to infect millions of users. The botnet used anonymous social media accounts to download itself on to the computers of victims. After that, the hacker has full control over the group of infected computers.

Butterfly Botnet was Very Lethal

Although the botnet was shut down in the month of October, 2012, according to authorities, the botnet wreaked havoc while it was active. According to official reports, the botnet group caused financial damages of more than $850 million put together. This is one of the biggest hacking hits, if not the biggest. Also, the total number of computers that were affected with this botnet exceeded 12 million in number. This number alone suggests how effective this hacker group was in planting malicious software on to the computers of unsuspecting users. The reports also showed that this botnet specifically accessed financial information from over 800,000 computers.

Experts Suggest Botnet Operators Were Not Very Smart

According to some of the leading experts in cybercrime and online security, the botnet operators were not very smart in covering their tracks. They are of the opinion that the hacker group had ready-to-use malware for their operations. At the time they started using it, it was one of the most sophisticated software that the cyber world had seen. But over time, the malware did not evolve as it had to. Facebook was studying the malware for a couple of years now. This enabled them to identify patterns to track the hacker group and ultimately, trap them. FBI was also quite open in acknowledging the success of the operation. This shows that they have comprehensively wiped out all the units of the hacker group from multiple countries.

Cybercrime Tracking is a Lucrative Business

Some of the experts were also of the opinion that some hackers might switch over to the legal side as cybercrime tracking is proving to be a very lucrative business proposition. They said that although government agencies had talented staff, the talent pool outside the government agencies is very vast and of high quality. If the government takes the help of private investigators (read hackers turned investigators), the hit rate would improve significantly. This type of association is not just a speculation. In a couple of years’ time, this would probably come true.

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