Federal law enforcement agencies across six European-based countries have cooperated to dismantle a major Ukrainian-based cybercriminal gang accused of distributing and deploying the deadly Zeus and SpyEye banking malware that affected victims globally.
According to Europol’s official report, authorities were able to arrest five suspected criminals between June 18th and 19th. All five of the arrested members are accused of being apart of the same gang that affected tens of thousands of computers around the world with malicious banking Trojans.
Cybercriminals apart of the gang are alleged to have distributed the Zeus and SpyEye malware which the gang abused to steal millions from major banks across Europe and the world. The gang consistently enhanced their malware to continuously dodge security protocols most banks used and made use of “mule networks” to launder money.
“On the digital underground forums, they actively traded stolen credentials, compromised bank account information and malware,” Eurpol said in their public statement released Wednesday, “while selling their hacking ‘services’ and looking for new cooperation partners in other cybercriminal activities.”
Of the five high-profile criminals arrested, each were alleged to have their own specialty skill in which they exceeded. The gang is behind held responsible for developing the malware, effectively distributing it to infect machines and stealing banking credentials that the gang used to sell on underground black market forums.
According to Europol officials close to the investigation, the gang was able to cause financial damages that’s estimated at 2 million Euros, roughly $2,233,023.76.
“In one of the most significant operations coordinated by the agency in recent years Europol worked with an international team of investigators to bring down a very destructive cybercriminal group,” said Rob Wainwright, a Eurpol director.
“With our international partners, we are committed to fighting the threats brought about by malware and other forms of cybercrime, to realise safer technology infrastructures and online financial transactions for businesses and people the world over,” Wainwright said.
The operation, which was conducted by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was taken down in part of an ongoing initiative launched by Eurpol in 2013 that has since resulted in 60 arrests to date.
Eurpol has been hot with catching criminals lately as just two months ago law enforcement officials dismantled the highly-sophisticated BeeBone botnet that infected some 12,000 computers worldwide. Their initiative also resulted in the Ramit botnet take down, which infected over 3.2 million computers across the world.
Just last year the FBI and Europol worked to take down the GameOver Zeus botnet which eventually re-appeared later throughout the year. However, the alleged cybercriminal gang behind the Zeus malware was taken into custody last week.