The cybercrime team of the police in the east of the Netherlands, together with ten other countries and Europol, have taken the FluBot network off the air. This has prevented more than 6.5 million spam messages from being sent by SMS. The malware can no longer kill victims.
FluBot kills thousands in Europe
FlutBot first made itself heard at the end of 2020. But it wasn’t until May 2021 that the malware really became known. FluBot made victims all over Europe, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Finland. Our country had tens of thousands of victims. According to the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT), at least nine thousand Belgians installed the malware on their mobile phones.
FluBot installs itself via SMS. Android users received a text message telling them to install an app to track their package. In reality, it was a malicious application that secretly collected personal information, including credentials of crypto wallets. It could also change money amounts and bank account numbers of financial transactions and could see exactly what you typed.
The malware was able to spread like wildfire. Because he had access to the contacts of infected smartphones, the text message was automatically forwarded. In the past year, we saw several variants pass by. For example, FlutBot disguised itself as an app to listen to voicemails and a Flash Player application.
Infrastructure FluBot off the air
In any case, FluBot can no longer make new victims for the time being. That’s because the malware’s IT infrastructure has been taken offline. According to the Dutch police, this is the result of a “complex investigation”.
Europol’s European Cybercrime Center supported and coordinated the operation. In addition to the East Netherlands cybercrime team, ‘our’ agents worked together with police units and security services from Australia, Belgium, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.
By shutting down FluBot’s infrastructure, the police prevented 6.5 million spam messages from being sent.
How to remove FluBot and other malware from your smartphone
Do you have an app on your smartphone that doesn’t respond when you tap it? Or do you get an error message when you try to remove it? Then you may have malware on your mobile phone.
To make sure that you remove such malware permanently, it may be wise to perform a factory reset or hard reset. This will return you to the original factory settings. You will lose all data on your phone. It proves once again that it is wise to regularly back up your most important files.
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