US Department of Justice Announces Hacking of Russian Malware Network
The US Department of Justice has announced the successful hacking of a 20-year-old malware network belonging to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). In a statement, the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York said that Operation MEDUSA had neutralised the FSB’s most significant cyberespionage software implant, “Snake”. Since 2004, Snake has been used to extract sensitive data from hundreds of infected computers in 50 countries, acting as a virtually undetectable highway for Russian intelligence forces.
The operation was carried out with the assistance of multiple foreign governments and a digital tool called “Perseus”, reportedly developed by Kremlin-backed hackers. Perseus turned the Spyware’s functionality against itself, forcing the program to self-destruct.
Deputy Attorney General, Matthew G. Olsen, said that the Department of Justice was collaborating with international allies, as well as the private sector, to neutralise Russia’s malicious cyber activity. He added that “every weapon in our arsenal” would be used, including hi-tech operations and law enforcement. Olsen warned that the DOJ would “increase our joint impact” to combat the growing threats to national security.
Operation MEDUSA reportedly disabled a significant number of infrastructures used to spread malware, making it incredibly difficult to reuse the software. The operation is seen as an essential step in combating Russia’s cyber threat to the global community.