Thursday marked a rare day where law enforcement agencies around the world hit back in the war against ransomware attackers.

Europol announced a takedown of infrastructure used to run the Emotet botnet in a joint operation with law enforcement organizations from the U.S., U.K., Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Lithuania, and Ukraine. According to a release, authorities seized an undisclosed number of servers, computers and other devices used by Emotet, which functions as both a bot network and a popular form of malware used by ransomware actors to gain early stage access into a victim’s network. Machines infected  by Emotet malware are now redirecting traffic to infrastructure controlled by law enforcement.

According to analysis from Check Point, Emotet was among the most popular malware variants seen in 2020, accounting for 7% of the organizations attacked for the month of December and 100,000 users every day as Christmas and New Year’s approached. After similar stints on top in September and October, the trojan saw a dropoff in November before roaring back ahead of the holidays.

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