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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Google LLC has filed a lawsuit against a botnet named Glupteba, believed to be operated from Russia. It's a network that the company says has been infecting Google services on Windows computers for years.

Why it matters: Tech companies are taking the reins in fighting back against computer hackers, not just relying on law enforcement to do it.

  • Companies like Google and Microsoft have huge teams working on preventing attacks and hacking, as botnets and other cyberattacks impact users.

Details: Google's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, alleges that the botnet, a network of devices infected with malware, engages in various criminal schemes on the devices it infiltrates.

  • The suit says those schemes include: stealing accounts and selling them to third parties, selling credit card information for fraudulent purchases, selling ads on infected devices, and selling access for devices to be used as proxies for cyber criminals to conceal locations and IP addresses.
  • This lawsuit is filed against the operators of the botnet and alleges, among other things, computer fraud and abuse and trademark infringement.

Driving the news: Google said in the lawsuit the botnet network has operated since at least 2011 and infected more than 1 million Microsoft Windows devices.

  • The company says it's the first lawsuit against a blockchain-enabled botnet.
  • Google's suit comes after Microsoft announced Monday it seized websites from a Chinese hacking group that was carrying out cyberattacks.

What they're saying: "Unfortunately, Glupteba’s use of blockchain technology as a resiliency mechanism is notable here and is becoming a more common practice among cyber crime organizations," wrote Google general counsel Halimah DeLaine Prado and VP of security Royal Hansen in a blog post.

Go deeper

Lawsuit alleges top colleges illegally collude to limit financial aid

Harkness Tower stands on the Yale University campus. Photo: Craig Warga/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A lawsuit filed Sunday alleges that 16 major U.S. universities and colleges, including a number of Ivy League schools, have violated antitrust laws by working together to determine students' financial aid packages.

Driving the news: According to the lawsuit, the schools "participated in a price-fixing cartel that is designed to reduce or eliminate financial aid...and that in fact has artificially inflated the net price of attendance for students receiving financial aid."

25 mins ago - Health

Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

America is seeing more COVID hospitalizations than other wealthy countries during the Omicron surge, according to Our World in Data.

Why it matters: Vaccines keep the vast majority of COVID cases out of the hospital, but vaccination rates are also lower in the U.S. than these other countries.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: The end of the Omicron wave is in sight — Transplants rebound from COVID lull.
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden to announce plan to distribute 400 million masks for free — Government website for free COVID tests launches early.
  4. World: WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older.
  5. Variant tracker