Suspected 'Mariposa Botnet' creator arrested

28th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

US, Spanish and Slovenian law enforcement authorities on Wednesday announced the arrest of the suspected creator of the notorious "Mariposa Botnet" used by criminal hackers around the world.

The suspect, a 23-year-old Slovenian citizen identified only as "Iserdo," was arrested by Slovenian police last week, the FBI, the Slovenian Criminal Police and the Spanish Guardia Civil said in a joint statement.

Three suspected Mariposa Botnet operators -- Florencio Carro Ruiz, Jonathan Pazos Rivera, and Juan Jose Bellido Rios -- were arrested in Spain in February and are facing prosecution for computer crimes, the statement added.

The FBI said the arrests were the result of a two-year joint investigation into the Mariposa Botnet, which may have infected as many as eight million to 12 million computers around the world.

A botnet is a network of malware-infected computers that can be controlled remotely and used to carry out attacks or other operations.

The Mariposa Botnet was used to steal passwords, credit card and bank account information.

It was also used to spread viruses and launch denial of service attacks, in which a website's servers are overwhelmed by simultaneous visits from infected computers.

According to the FBI, the Mariposa Botnet was built with a computer virus created by the arrested Slovenian known as the "Butterfly Bot" which was also sold to other cyber criminals worldwide.

"In the last two years, the software used to create the Mariposa botnet was sold to hundreds of other criminals, making it one of the most notorious in the world," FBI director Robert Mueller said.

FBI cyber division assistant director Gordon Snow welcomed the cooperation of the Slovenian and Spanish authorities in the case.

"Cyber crime knows no boundaries, and without international collaboration, our efforts to dismantle these operations would be impossible," he said.

"The cyber kingpins know that they are not invincible anymore," added Major Juan Salom, commander of the Guardia Civil's cyber crime division. "It doesn't matter where or how they try to hide, they will be located and prosecuted."

© 2010 AFP

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