The FBI has issued some 19,000 uninstall commands to the computers of 24 individuals infected by the Coreflood botnet, effectively purging their machines of that malware, and leaving behind no unintended consequences thus far according to a report from Brian Krebs.

For just about as long as there have been botnets, there’s been an ongoing discussion in the security and law-enforcement communities about the legality and ethics of taking proactive steps to disrupt the botnets’ operations and even to remove the bots from infected machines. Until very recently, those discussions have been theoretical, but now the government has asked a court for permission to clean millions of Coreflood bot-infected PCs, moving the questions from the realm of “what if” to “now what.”

The size and volume of spam botnets are down over the last
year, and much of this can be attributed to the effectiveness of IP-based blacklists. However,
this defense method is no panacea as scammers have found new methods like reputation
hijacking to circumvent these roadblocks, and bots continue to extend their
reach by piggybacking on existing worms and viruses.

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