Russian Police Arrest Alleged Botnet Operator

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Russia's Interior Ministry has announced the arrest of an unidentified 22-year-old man known as both "Hermes" and "Arashi" for creating a botnet and stealing million of dollars from individuals and organizations.

"The arrest followed a ten month investigation ... with support from Russian anti-virus software vendor Dr. Web," Information Age reports. "It is the latest arrest of a suspected botnet operator following collaboration between IT vendors and law enforcement authorities."

"The botnet, analyzed by ... Dr. Web, was formed of 4.5 million computers, but experts estimate that the total number of infected devices was around 6 million," writes Softpedia's Eduard Kovacs. "Furthermore, security researchers have reported that around 1 million malicious messages have been sent out daily. On a 'productive' day, as many as 100,000 new computers would become zombies in the massive botnet."

"For his operation, Hermes allegedly used modifications of familiar banking Trojans, such as Carberp," writes TechWeekEurope's Max Smolaks. "After getting his hands on log-in and password information, the culprit would transfer the money from the accounts of legitimate users into his own fake company accounts, it was claimed. The money was then withdrawn using ATMs. Hermes would also rent his botnet out to other hackers all around the country as an additional source of income, it was alleged. The cybercriminal was living it large, using the money he stole to buy several expensive cars and a house in a Russian resort town, but he also started investing in legitimate companies, according to the allegations."