Spanish police arrest masterminds of 'massive' botnet
Spanish police have revealed that they have arrested
three men responsible for one of the world's biggest
networks of virus-infected computers.
All are Spanish citizens with no criminal records and limited hacking
It is estimated that the so-called Mariposa botnet was made up of nearly
13 million computers in 190 countries.
It included PCs inside more than half of Fortune 1000 companies and more
than 40 major banks, investigators said.
The criminals have so far only been identified by their internet names,
netkairo, aged 31, johnyloleante, aged 30 and ostiator, 25.
Other arrests may follow, the investigators believe.
The first member of the gang was arrested in early February, when he
inadvertently logged into the network without disguising the address of his
His computer linked investigators to two more suspects who were arrested
later in the month.
The botnet was being monitored and was rendered inactive in December,
following a major investigation conducted by the FBI, the Spanish Guardia
Civil and security experts around the world.
The network of computers was designed to steal sensitive information,
including usernames, passwords, banking credentials and credit card data,
from social media sites and other online e-mail services.
One of the arrested men had 800,000 pieces of personal data on his
Some very high profile businesses were targeted.