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EC3 Dismantles Cyber-crime Ring Spreading Ransomware

EC3 (European Cyber-crime Centre) through its recent 'Operation Ransom' reportedly shutdown one complicated cyber-crime ring, which was disseminating "police ransomware," published pcmag.com dated February 14, 2013.

In collaboration between the Spanish Cops and Europol that conducted the investigation, 11 individuals were arrested, on February 13, 2013, who understandably belonged to Ukraine, Georgia and Russia. The group apparently infected numerous computers worldwide while reaping profits amounting over EUR1m every annum.

The investigators, who raided 6 areas within the Malaga region of Andalusia, Spain, confiscated IT gadgets as well as credit cards from the miscreants who manipulated the latter towards cashing them out when victims made payments through Paysafecard, Ukash or MoneyPak.

Crooks belonging to the gang, while sending the ransomware disguised it to be arriving from authorities dealing in law enforcement, while the ransomware message blamed Web-surfers of accessing unlawful Internet sites, although that wasn't true. The message subsequently asked for certain EUR100 in fine to be paid anonymously else via virtual process. Thereafter, when victims attempted at booting their PCs, information and data got seized.

Police disclosed that the ring gained revenue through virtual mechanisms such as money laundering that relied on Internet gaming websites, virtual coins, and e-payment gateways. It as well utilized credit cards after compromising them for grabbing money out of victims' accounts through ATMs installed in Spain, officials added.

Europol Director Rob Wainwright stated that the virus spread in a huge 48 variants, most of them customized to known cop facilities as per their location, reported ZDNet.com dated February 14, 2013.

The virus-laced message depicted the logo along with idiom belonging to all the police centres, even his own name and of Europol's for conning citizens, Wainwright added.

As per Europol, starting May 2011, more than 1,200 cases were reported inside Spain; however, since Internauts within 30-or-more countries were targeted with the ransomware, the real count of victimized users was forecasted much more.

Notably, alongside Europol and Spanish police, participants of Operation Ransom also included the Interpol; the Interior Ministry's attaches belonging to United Arab Republic located Spanish Embassy and Moscow located Spanish Embassy; as well as Eurojust.

Related article: Ex-husband Charged For Spying On Tycoon Wife’s PC

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