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A Breakthrough of National Significance

If you have a penchant for tech sphere, you might have heard about the emergence of Trojan-like TrickBot malware that sent the entire industry into panic mode. The malware made its first appearance in 2016 when it was just used to steal banking credentials, but over the last 5 years it had added a whole new host of features into its arsenal. Taking a step forward from the banking beginnings, TrickBot evolved into a well-rounded module-centric crimeware solution, which was served to the victims in a malware-as-service form. This malware largely targeted super-sized business corporations and public infrastructure, so that it could hold the victim to ransom for big money.

Unlike other attacks of similar nature, TrickBot story boasts an additional element that demands all your attention. So, basically, all the devices that got infected with TrickBot would become a part of a botnet that was specially designed to facilitate the hacker’s takeover of victim’s device. As simple as it sounds, the whole thing came with grave consequences. Once entered into the botnet, you can lose control over your bank account, get subjected to high-value wire fraud, and fall on the wrong end of dangerous ransomware attacks. All this happens in a much shorter timeframe than you can even imagine, therefore not giving you any time to respond and do the required damage control.

Nevertheless, this case has finally seen a breakthrough. On Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced charges against a Latvian malware developer, who as per the reports played a crucial role in the creation of TrickBot. Alla Witte, more popularly known as ‘Max’ in cybercrime circles, was arrested in Miami earlier this year in February. The law enforcement agencies revealed that Alla was one of the main coders in the TrickBot team. She was essentially responsible for creating ransomware-related functionality, including components like control, deployment, and payments.

If convicted, Alla faces over 30 years in prison on the basis of charges that include computer fraud, aggravated identity theft, wire and bank fraud, and money laundering.

Even though Alla is just one piece of what is a sizeable gang, there is a belief that with this breakthrough they’ll see all the dominoes falling soon.

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