Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) have made Europe’s first arrests in the battle against the ZeuS or Zbot Trojan which threatened to compromise thousands of computers.
Officers from the PCeU, assisted by Greater Manchester Police, arrested a man and woman, both aged 20 years, in Manchester for offenses under the 1990 Computer Misuse Act and the 2006 Fraud Act.
Both suspects were interviewed by PCeU detectives and have been bailed for further in-depth inquiries to be completed.
The Zbot Trojan is believed to have infected and subsequently accessed personal information from tens of thousands of computers around the world.
The malware enabled the distributors to harvest millions of lines of data from affected machines – hundreds of thousands per day – and given the amount of information stolen, the potential financial gains to the culprits and losses to individuals and institutions are very substantial.
It is believed the Trojan was configured in such a way that once installed in the systems of the infected computers, it recorded users’ online bank account details and passwords, credit card numbers and other personal information, including passwords for social networking sites, before causing the computer to forward the data to servers under the control of the distributors.
ZeuS poses a sizable threat to the safe use of the Internet and is being used increasingly by cyber-criminals worldwide – not simply those involved in this case. The arrests in connection with the malware represent some of the first in the world, and the first in Europe to combat the distribution and control of ZeuS.