The White House in July issued an implementation plan to spell out how it would protect critical infrastructure such as water and power plants. The administration strategy calls for large public and private sector entities to take more responsibility to reduce risks, and it offers incentives for more investment in long-term cybersecurity.
The Qakbot malware was used to infect victims’ computers through spam email messages containing malicious attachments, the Justice Department said. Once clicked and activated, the malware installed ransomware, shutting down victims’ computers and leading the criminals to demand ransom payments to unlock them, the department said.
The FBI gained access to Qakbot infrastructure and identified more than 700,000 computers worldwide, including 200,000 in the United States, that were affected by the malware, the department said.
The malware was used by prolific criminal groups such as Conti, REvil and others that have been linked to attacks on U.S. hospitals, school systems, city governments, as well as similar victims in other countries around the world.