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Suspected malware writers arrests in Europe
by Konstantin Kornakov | Jun 28 2006 15:40 GMT

Three men have been arrested in the UK and Finland in connection with cybercrime activity after a joint operation by the police forces of the two countries. All three are suspected of creating malware and running botnets targeting UK businesses at least since 2005. The men arrested are a 63-year-old from Suffolk, a 28-year-old from Scotland and a 19-year-old from Finland.

All three are believed to have been part of an online cybercriminal group known as m00p, one of the more prominent botnet groups that operated in the world. The three men who were detained on Tuesday are suspected of creating viruses that spread via email, infecting victim machines. Having gained access to the infected computers they proceeded to steal financial information. The police believe that their actions were financially motivated.

The m00p group itself gained worldwide prominence in 2005, during the Mytob and Zotob outbreaks. The group is believed to be responsible for the creation and release of several variants of the IRCbot and Bozori worms on the back of the Mytob outbreak. Detective Constable Bob Burls, of the Metropolitan Police Computer Crime Unit, said of their activities: "this highly organised group are suspected of writing new computer viruses in order to avoid detection by anti-virus products”.

The three men were arrested in coordinated morning raids and questioned throughout Tuesday. The two men held in the UK could face charges under the Computer Security Act 1992. The charge carries a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment and/or a £5000 fine. According to DC Burls, the arrests "will send a clear worldwide signal to the authors of malicious software that national borders will not limit the ability and commitment of law enforcement authorities to clamp down on criminal activity.”


Reuters UK

Times Online