Four arrested in 'largest ever' international anti-malware sweep, says Europol

Authorities arrested four people and took down or disrupted more than 100 servers in the "largest ever" operation against botnets that deploy ransomware, Europol said Thursday.

Dubbed Operation Endgame, the sweep was initiated and led by France, Germany and the Netherlands, with a French official saying they wanted to act before this summer's Paris Olympics.

The attacks cost the victims, which were mainly companies and national institutions, hundreds of millions of euros, according to Dutch police, adding that the systems of millions of individuals were infected.

The May 27-29 operation led to one arrest in Armenia and three in Ukraine, with searches in both countries as well as in the Netherlands and Portugal, Europol said.

In addition to the four arrests, eight fugitive suspects linked to the case will be added to Europe's Most Wanted list.

"This is the largest ever operation against botnets, which play a major role in the deployment of ransomware," the agency based in The Hague said.

The agency said the operation was ongoing, with more arrests expected.


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