Eleven Arrested Over Police Ransomware

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Europol recently announced the arrests of 11 people suspected of running a ransomware scam that earned them more than 1 million euros a year.

"Police ransomware locks up systems and accuses the user of using illegal filesharing networks or of child abuse image distribution," writes The Register's John Leyden. "The ransomware uses police logos to make it look like it came from a law enforcement agency to convince victims to cough a 'fine' of around 100 euros using cash vouchers in order to unlock their computers."

"Compromised credit card information that was also sucked up in the sting was used to withdraw money from cash machines in Spain, and the cash was laundered with international money transfers through currency exchanges and call centres," writes The Inquirer's Dave Neal.

"The Russian head of the crime network was arrested in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in December," writes The New York Times' Raphael Minder. "This month, the Spanish police arrested 10 other people -- six Russians, two Ukrainians and two Georgians -- along the Costa del Sol, a popular vacation destination in southern Spain, where the criminals are believed to have had their main base of operations. The search continues, however, for other possible cells operated by the criminal network outside of Europe, investigators said."

"The arrests point to the growing cooperation between private organisations with hi-tech expertise in identifying the source of some of the commercial malware used to infect computers and steal data or persuade people to hand over money, and police organisations in multiple countries which have insufficient time or resources to perform that analysis themselves," writes The Guardian's Charles Arthur. "The latest arrests were helped by the security company Trend Micro, but in other cases Microsoft and the security companies Symantec and F-Secure have played major roles in pointing to the locations of criminal gangs."

"Let this arrest be a reminder that we all have a part to play: reporting cyber crime is essential to ensure these very real crimes get the appropriate consideration," writes Sophos' Carole Theriault. "By law, authorities need to record your complaint, and this can be very valuable when trying to negotiate resources for a particular sting."