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article imageBotnet of 13 million PC's worldwide busted by Spanish police

By R. C. Camphausen     Mar 4, 2010 in Crime
The economic and technological crimes unit of the Spanish police arrested three ringleaders of the huge Mariposa botnet. The creator, seemingly of Venezuelan origin, is still being sought.
According to Business Journal, Wednesday saw the arrest by Spanish police and American FBI agents of three people who ran one of the largest networks of hacked PCs. The so-called Mariposa botnet has now been shut down and it was discovered that the perpetrators had used it to steal from more than half of America's Fortune 1,000 companies and from more than 40 major banks.
The network of 12.7 million computers around the world had been operative around the globe and was used to nab credit card numbers and online banking credentials
According to the journal, Spanish authorities are looking for a fourth suspect, possibly a Venezuelan man. It also said: The people in custody did not design the malicious software behind the grid; they just bought it on the black market, a police spokesman said.
"We have not arrested the creator of the botnet. We have arrested the administrators of the botnet, the ones who spread it and were administering and controlling it," he said.
Yahoo News has some details on the three young men that have been arrested, but for now they remain anonymous: The three suspects were described as Spanish citizens with no criminal records. They weren't named and their mug shots weren't released, which Lorenza said is standard in Spain to protect the privacy of defendants. They face up to six years in prison if convicted of hacking charges.
Authorities identified them by their Internet handles and their ages: "netkairo," 31; "jonyloleante," 30; and "ostiator," 25.
Cesar Lorenza is a captain with the Spanish Guardia Civil, which has been investigating the case together with the FBI, and has been aided by several security firms and Internet providers.
The botnet had only been working since late 2008.
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