U.S. Justice Dept announces actions to dismantle Kelihos botnet

WASHINGTON, April 10 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department said on Monday it had launched an effort to disrupt and dismantle the Kelihos botnet - a global network of tens of thousands of infected computers under the control of a cybercriminal.

Kelihos malware targeted computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system, the department said in a statement. According to the civil complaint, Peter Yuryevich Levashov, a Russian citizen, allegedly operated the Kelihos botnet since approximately 2010, the statement said.

In order to liberate the victim computers, the United States obtained court orders to take measures to neutralize the Kelihos botnet, including establishing substitute servers and blocking commands sent from the botnet operator, the department said.

Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Eric Walsh