The law enforcement agencies from six European countries coordinated by the Europol have arrested members of a Ukrainian ring behind Zeus and SpyEye botnets.

The law enforcement agencies from six European countries have dealt a serious blow to the organized crime by taking down a Ukrainian ring suspected of developing managing the popular Zeus and SpyEye botnets.

The Europol estimated that the overall damage produced by the criminal ring is at least 2 million EURO.

The joint effort resulted in the arrest of five suspects, it is part of an ongoing initiative launched by Europol in the year 2013 that has resulted in 60 arrests to date.

“A joint investigation team (JIT) consisting of investigators and judicial authorities from six different European countries, supported by Europol and Eurojust, has taken down a major cybercriminal group during a coordinated action in Ukraine. With on-the-spot support from Europol, Austrian and Belgian law enforcement and judicial authorities, the action in Ukraine on 18 and 19 June resulted in the arrest of five suspects, eight house searches in four different cities, and the seizure of computer equipment and other devices for further forensic examination.” states the report published by the Europol.

Last year, the Europol and the FBI and Europol dismantled the GameOver Zeus botnet, although it appeared again a month later.

The  suspects are the members of a gang that has been accused of infecting tens of thousands of computers worldwide with the popular Zeus and SpyEye banking Trojans and other malicious codes.

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The Europol confirmed that the cyber criminals have adapted their sophisticated malware over the time to defeat the security measures implemented by the banks.

The gang was structured and has an efficient organization in which every criminals has a specific role, the law enforcement has identified malware developers, cyber experts in charge of the distribution of the malware, members that actively traded the stolen data on the underground market and individuals responsible of money mule networks to launder the illegal profits.

“On the underground digital forums, they actively traded stolen credentials, compromised bank account information and malware,” Europol said in an official statement“while selling their hacking ‘services’ and looking for new cooperation partners in other cybercriminal activities.”

The Europol and its allies appear very effective in the fight against cybercrime worldwide, in April they shut down in a joint operation between U.S. and European law enforcement and a number of private security companies the dreaded BeeBone botnet that had infected more than 12,000 computers worldwide.

Another clamorous success is the ongoing initiative against the Ramnit botnet that allowed the law enforcement to take over a botnet composed by over 3.2 Million computers worldwide.

Let me close with the statement released by the Director of Europol, Rob Wainwright.

“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. 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,” 

The fight against the cybercrime request a joint effort of law enforcement and private firm worldwide, and these operations are the demonstration.

Pierluigi Paganini