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Europol Recommends Antivirus for Everyone after Genesis Takedown


April 06, 2023

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Europol Recommends Antivirus for Everyone after Genesis Takedown

After the trumpeted takedown of the Genesis cybercrime hub, Europol is advising everyone everywhere to deploy an antivirus on their devices.

Operation Cookie Monster, years in the making, ended this week with 119 arrests, 208 property searches and 97 knock-and-talk measures, the seizure of multiple domains, and the takedown of the Genesis underworld marketplace itself.

As Europol itself notes, the Genesis Market’s main commodity was digital identities.

“This marketplace would offer for sale what the market owners referred to as ‘bots’ that had infected victims’ devices through malware or account takeovers attacks,” the law enforcement body said.


Using a bot, criminals could mimic the victim’s browser ‘fingerprint’, cookies, saved logins and autofill form data, and pass for the real account owner – including bypassing multi-factor authentication.

This information was collected in real time, with the buyer receiving notifications of any change of passwords or other fingerprinting data. In other words, even if the victim changed their passwords, hackers could still obtain their new credentials and keep impersonating them.

Given the platform’s popularity among cybercriminals and its key role in aiding cybercrime, including ransomware, the takedown of Genesis Market was a huge priority for international law enforcement.

‘Use antivirus software on all your electronic devices’

Europol is taking this opportunity to highlight how important it has become for the general public to take cybersecurity seriously.

“With over 1.5 million bots listed on Genesis Market, chances are that your credentials have already ended up for sale on this criminal marketplace,” the announcement stresses.

The Euro cops’ memo includes the following recommendations:

·      Use antivirus software on all your electronic devices

·      Keep your software updated, including your browser, antivirus and operating system

·      Browse and download only official versions of software and always from trusted websites

·      Be wary while browsing the internet and do not click on suspicious links, pop-ups or dialog boxes

·      Think twice before clicking on links or attachments

·      Set up unique passwords

·      Enable multi-factor authentication for all of your accounts

Note that you should only change your passwords after running a malware scan. Removing the malware first ensures that criminals can’t see any changes made on your device.

Bitdefender’s all-in-one plans include complete malware protection, digital identity protection, phishing protection, VPN, and password management, both on desktop and on mobile. Learn more at bitdefender.com/solutions.

Bitdefender recently won PCMag’s Readers' Choice Award for 2023, with the magazine’s readers rating us high in overall satisfaction and likelihood to recommend, as well as cost, ease of use, and overall trustworthiness of the brand.




Filip has 15 years of experience in technology journalism. In recent years, he has turned his focus to cybersecurity in his role as Information Security Analyst at Bitdefender.

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