French authorities announced the takedown of a monero-driven mining botnet which had infected over 850,000 computers in 100 different countries. 

French Cyber Police

According to a BBC report, a team of French police working for the C3N digital crime-fighting centre, dubbed “cybergendarmes,” were alerted to a botnet being operated out of Paris and using victims’ devices to mine the privacy-centric cryptocurrency monero (XMR).

The French team was first notified of the illegal operation earlier in the year by anti-virus company Avast, which had targeted a private server as the root for a virus called Retadup. The virus was being sent through manipulative email offers and infected USB drives, which allowed hackers to gain control of the computer remotely and begin mining monero. Authorities estimate that the scam may have accumulated millions of euros worth of cryptocurrency. 

While other cryptocurrencies have been implicated in hacks, the privacy-focused monero has been the asset of choice for individuals prioritizing anonymity. 

According to C3N chief Jean-Dominique Nollet, 

We managed to track down where the command server was, the control tower for the “botnet” network of infected computers.

The French authorities were then able to create a replica server, rendering the virus inactive on infected computers. The hackers behind the botnet have yet to be caught and are assumed to be on the run.