UK police arrest three men over 'SpyEye' malware

A Latvian and a Lithuanian have been charged with hacking offenses and conspiracy to defraud

U.K. police arrested three men late last week in connection with using the SpyEye malware program to steal online banking details.

Two of the men were charged on Friday and appeared in Westminster Magistrates Court in London on Saturday. Pavel Cyganoc, 26, a Lithuanian living in Birmingham, England, was charged with conspiracy to cause unauthorized modifications to computers, conspiracy to defraud and concealing proceeds from crime. Aldis Krummins, 45, a Latvian living in Goole, England, was charged with conspiracy to defraud and concealing proceeds of crime.

A third man, a 26-year-old whose nationality was not revealed, was released on police bail but must return for further questioning in August, police said.

Police said the three were arrested by the Police Central e-Crime Unit "in connection with an international investigation into a group suspected of utilizing malware to infect personal computers and retrieve private banking details."

The investigation began in January and revolved around the group's use of a uniquely modified variation of the SpyEye malware, which harvests personal banking details and sends the credentials to a remote server controlled by hackers, police said.

As part of their investigation, police also seized computer equipment and data.

U.K. police have frequently teamed up with other agencies such as the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and police forces in other European countries to execute raids and arrest cybercrime suspects, but police wouldn't say if arrests were made in other countries as part of this operation.

Security analysts have kept watch on the SpyEye malware for some time. Some say it shares code with Zeus, widely considered the reference in banking malware. Zeus is designed to evade security software, grab online banking credentials and execute transactions as people log into their accounts.

Police have notched some successes against cybercrime organizations using Zeus. Last year, law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and U.K. arrested dozens of "money mules," or people who were using their own personal accounts to receive stolen funds and transfer the money to other criminal accounts for a slice of the proceeds.

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Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
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