US-led operation takes down global botnet, and other cybersecurity news to know this month

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A computer board is seen.

A botnet using residential computers across the globe was taken down in a US-led operation. Image: Unsplash/Adi Goldstein

Akshay Joshi
Head of Industry and Partnerships, Centre for Cybersecurity, World Economic Forum
This article is part of: Centre for Cybersecurity
  • This regular round-up brings you key cybersecurity stories from the past month.
  • Top cybersecurity news: US-led operation takes down large-scale botnet; London hospital services hit by cyberattack; Denmark raises cyber threat level.
  • The US government also published recommendations on cybersecurity harmonization efforts, which featured contributions from the World Economic Forum's Centre for Cybersecurity.

1. US-led operation takes down large-scale botnet

An operation led by the US Justice Department has disrupted a botnet that was used to commit cyber attacks, large-scale fraud, child exploitation, harassment, bomb threats and export violations.

A group created and shared malware to compromise and build a network of residential Windows computers across the world – these devices were eventually associated with more than 19 million unique IP addresses.

“Working with our international partners, the FBI conducted a joint, sequenced cyber operation to dismantle the 911 S5 Botnet – likely the world’s largest botnet ever,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Most commonly encountered type of malware attacks worldwide
The most common types of malware attack. Image: Statista

2. Services disrupted at London hospitals after cyberattack

A cyberattack on a provider of lab services to the state-run National Health Service (NHS) caused significant disruption at London hospitals in early June.

Services at some of London's busiest hospitals were disrupted, including King's College Hospital. The week after the incident was reported, an appeal was launched for O blood-type donors, as hospitals were still struggling to match patients' blood at the same frequency. O-type blood is safe to use for all patients.

Prof Stephen Powis, medical director for NHS England, told the BBC that staff were going "above and beyond to minimize the significant disruption to patients".


3. News in brief: Top cybersecurity stories this month

New research has shown that a hacking group launched a large-scale cyberattack on a US telecommunications company that disabled more than 600,000 internet routers. The attack look place in October last year, but were not disclosed at the time.

One of Germany's largest political parties, the Christian Democratic Union, was hit by a large cyberattack this month, officials said.

The US Office of the National Cyber Director published summary recommendations on efforts to harmonize cybersecurity regulations. The report, which featured contributions from the World Economic Forum's Centre for Cybersecurity, noted that since "cyberspace transcends borders, cybersecurity is inherently a global issue, requiring a regulatory approach that enables interoperability and mutual recognition."

A survey suggests that a majority of organizations will miss a deadline to adhere to new cybersecurity reporting requirements in the United States.

Poland has announced plans to boost spending on cybersecurity, the country's digitalization minister announced on 3 June. It comes after state news agency, PAP, was hit by a cyberattack.


How is the Forum tackling global cybersecurity challenges?

The Danish Centre for Cyber Security has raised its threat level assessment for destructive cyberattacks against the country from 'low' to 'middle'.

A report by Coro has found that 73% of cybersecurity professionals in small- and medium-sized enterprises have missed, ignored, or failed to act on critical security alerts.

Microsoft has announced a new cybersecurity programme to support rural hospitals throughout the United States.

Research from RSM has found that some 28% of middle market executives in the US said their organization faced a data breach in the past year.

4. More about cybersecurity on Agenda

Organizers of the Olympic Games in Paris are bolstering cybersecurity precautions as experts and law enforcement agencies warn that a surge in cyberattacks is expected ahead of the Games this summer. “The Games are facing an unprecedented level of threat,” said Vincent Strubel, the director general of ANSSI, France’s cybersecurity agency.

Romance fraud is happening on a large scale globally. But what is it? And how can we combat it? Read more or listen to our podcast.

How can we protect central bank digital currency systems as quantum computing becomes more widespread? Experts from Accenture discuss the challenges and solutions.

1. US-led operation takes down large-scale botnet2. Services disrupted at London hospitals after cyberattack3. News in brief: Top cybersecurity stories this month4. More about cybersecurity on Agenda

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