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FBI, Soca and Facebook help smash $850m botnet cybercrime syndicate

12 Dec 2012

The FBI has announced the arrest of 10 individuals from across the globe, including a man from Surrey in the UK, in a wide-ranging case to disrupt the infamous Butterfly botnet that has been used to steal almost $1bn.

The FBI was aided by other authorities across the world, including the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) and Facebook's own security team to land key perpetrators in countries including the UK, New Zealand, Peru and Croatia.

A Soca spokesperson told V3 that a man was arrested on Tuesday morning in relation to the investigation.

"Soca officers executed a search warrant at an address in Molesey, Surrey, on the morning of 11 Dec, following which a man was arrested on suspicion of offences under the Computer Misuse Act. He was later bailed pending further inquiries," they said.

The investigation focused on the Butterfly botnet that uses a strain of malware dubbed Yahos to steal credit card, bank account, and other personal identifiable information that can be used to rack up huge incomes for the criminals.

The FBI estimates the damage done by the botnet at around $850m to date.

Facebook's involvement saw their security staff provide help by working to identify the root cause of the malware from the perpetrators and those affected by the malware after Yahos targeted Facebook users from 2010 to October 2012.

The investigation is just one of several joint operations between international agencies such as the FBI and Soca in an attempt to stamp out cyber crime, after similar cases such as Operation Card Shop in June which led to 24 arrests, six of which were within the UK.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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