NewsSecurity News

Over 100 servers shutdown in largest ever operation against botnets

Between 27 and 29 May 2024 Operation Endgame, coordinated from Europol’s headquarters, targeted droppers including, IcedID, SystemBC, Pikabot, Smokeloader, Bumblebee and Trickbot. The actions focused on disrupting criminal services through arresting High Value Targets, taking down the criminal infrastructures and freezing illegal proceeds. This approach had a global impact on the dropper ecosystem.

The malware, whose infrastructure was taken down during the action days, facilitated attacks with ransomware and other malicious software. Following the action days, eight fugitives linked to these criminal activities, wanted by Germany, will be added to Europe’s Most Wanted list on 30 May 2024. The individuals are wanted for their involvement in serious cybercrime activities.

This is the largest ever operation against botnets, which play a major role in the deployment of ransomware. The operation, initiated and led by France, Germany and the Netherlands was also supported by Eurojust and involved Denmark, the United Kingdom and the United States. In addition, Armenia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland and Ukraine also supported the operation with different actions, such as arrests, interviewing suspects, searches, and seizures or takedowns of servers and domains.

The operation was also supported by a number of private partners at national and international level including Bitdefender, Cryptolaemus, Sekoia, Shadowserver, Team Cymru, Prodaft, Proofpoint, NFIR, Computest, Northwave, Fox-IT, HaveIBeenPwned, Spamhaus, DIVD, and Zscaler.

The coordinated actions led to:

  • 4 arrests (1 in Armenia and 3 in Ukraine)
  • 16 location searches (1 in Armenia, 1 in the Netherlands, 3 in Portugal and 11 in Ukraine)
  • Over 100 servers taken down or disrupted in Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Romania, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and Ukraine 
  • Over 2 000 domains under the control of law enforcement

Furthermore, it has been discovered through the investigations so far that one of the main suspects has earned at least EUR 69 million in cryptocurrency by renting out criminal infrastructure sites to deploy ransomware. The suspect’s transactions are constantly being monitored and legal permission to seize these assets upon future actions has already been obtained.

Operation Endgame does not end now. New actions will be announced on the website Operation Endgame. In addition, suspects involved in these and other botnets, who have not yet been arrested, will be directly called to account for their actions. Suspects and witnesses will find information on how to reach out via this website.

Luke Simmonds

Blogger at

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.