Cyber mastermind arrested, questioned in Slovenia

Jul 28, 2010 By ALI ZERDIN , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- A cyber mastermind from Slovenia who is suspected of creating a malicious software code that infected 12 million computers worldwide and orchestrating other huge cyberscams has been arrested and questioned, police said Wednesday.

Leon Keder, a spokesman for the Slovenian , did not identify the suspect. Keder told The Associated Press the man was released after police made sure that he could not tamper with evidence or leave Slovenia, but offered no details pending an investigation.

The FBI told The AP in Washington that a 23-year old Slovene known as Iserdo was picked up in Maribor in northwestern Slovenia 10 days ago, after lengthy investigation by Slovenian police, FBI and Spanish authorities.

His arrest comes about five months after Spanish police broke up the massive cyberscam, arresting three of the alleged ringleaders who operated the Mariposa , which stole credit cards and online banking credentials. The botnet - a network of infected computers - appeared in December 2008 and infected hundreds of companies and at least 40 major banks.

Botnets are networks of PCs that have been infected by a virus, remotely hijacked from their owners, often without their owners' knowledge, and put into the control of criminals.

"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," said FBI Director Robert Mueller in a statement. "These cyber intrusions, thefts, and frauds undermine the integrity of the Internet and the businesses that rely on it; they also threaten the privacy and pocketbooks of all who use the Internet."

The Mariposa botnet, which has been dismantled, was easily one of the world's biggest. It spread to more than 190 countries, according to the researchers who helped take it down after examining it in the spring of 2009.

Jeffrey Troy, the FBI's deputy assistant director for the cyber division, said Iserdo's arrest was a major break in the investigation.

On Wednesday, the FBI also identified, for the first time, the three individuals arrested in connection with the case in Spain: Florencio Carro Ruiz, known as "Netkairo;" Jonathan Pazos Rivera, known as "Jonyloleante;" and Juan Jose Bellido Rios, known as "Ostiator.

They are being prosecuted for computer crimes. Officials said the Mariposa botnet from Spain was the largest and most notorious.

In Ljubljana, Keder said "other suspects" were detained and interrogated along with the chief suspect, but offered no further details until a news conference planned for Friday.

Slovenian media have linked three former students of the Maribor Faculty of Computing and IT to the case, reporting that they were recently detained and interrogated by police and FBI officials, who confiscated their computer equipment.

The FBI's Troy said more arrests are expected and are likely to extend beyond Spain and Slovenia, targeting additional operators who allegedly bought the malware from Iserdo.

Mariposa is the Spanish word for "butterfly." Iserdo, read backwards, means "salvation" in Slovenian.

Explore further: LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

4.3 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Authorities bust 3 in infection of 13M computers

Mar 02, 2010

(AP) -- Authorities have smashed one of the world's biggest networks of virus-infected computers. It was a data vacuum that stole credit cards and online banking credentials from as many as 12.7 million poisoned PCs.

French police arrest alleged Twitter hacker

Mar 24, 2010

(AP) -- French police say they have detained a 25-year-old who allegedly hacked Twitter accounts of numerous well-known figures, including Britney Spears and President Barack Obama.

UK police make 2 Trojan computer virus arrests

Nov 18, 2009

(AP) -- A couple suspected of helping spread some of the Internet's most aggressive computer viruses has been arrested in the English city of Manchester, police said Wednesday.

Computer forensics links internet postcards to virus

Jul 25, 2009

Fake Internet postcards circulating through e-mail inboxes worldwide are carrying links to the virus known as Zeus Bot, said Gary Warner, director of computer forensics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Zeus ...

Corporations, agencies infiltrated by 'botnet'

Feb 18, 2010

(AP) -- Security experts have found a network of 74,000 virus-infected computers that stole information from inside corporations and government agencies. The unusual thing about the incident is not that it happened but that ...

Recommended for you

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

Apr 18, 2014

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

Apr 18, 2014

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

White House updating online privacy policy

Apr 18, 2014

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...