Industry News

Spanish Police Arrest “Ransomware” Cyber-Crime Ring

Spanish police arrested 10 people allegedly involved in a massive “ransomware” cyber-crime organization, according to The European Cybercrime Centre at Europol. Police estimated that the ring infected tens of thousands of users worldwide, stealing over 1 million euros a year.

Spanish Police Arrest “Ransomware” Cyber-Crime Ring Through the “police virus”, cyber-crooks required users to pay $134 as a “fine” to escape prosecution for piracy or accessing child pornography. The gang includes Russians, Ukrainians, and Georgians. The lead suspect is a 27-year-old of Russian origin arrested in December in the United Arab Emirates. He now awaits extradition to Spain.

“This is the first major success of its kind against a very new phenomenon that we have only identified in the last two years,” said Rob Wainwright, the director of Europol. “This is a mass marketing scam to distribute this thousands of times and rely on the fact that even if only 2 percent fall victim to the scam, it is still a very good pickup rate.”

The operation is ongoing, and many more arrests will follow. In December, three Brits were also arrested for infecting computers with the same “ransomware” malware. The Trojan has as many as 48 mutations, using different languages and logos of each specific police service including the Europol.

A month before, Bitdefender released a free tool to remove the Trojan that infected millions of users worldwide with the fake police message. Users infected with Trojan.Ransom.IcePol can still install the Bitdefender tool to wipe the malicious software from their computers and restore their devices by visiting and running the tool in Safe Mode. 

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Bianca Stanescu, the fiercest warrior princess in the Bitdefender news palace, is a down-to-earth journalist, who's always on to a cybertrendy story. She's the industry news guru, who'll always keep a close eye on the AV movers and shakers and report their deeds from a fresh new perspective. Proud mother of one, she covers parental control topics, with a view to valiantly cutting a safe path for children through the Internet thicket. She likes to let words and facts speak for themselves.