WASHINGTON (6/4/14)--Two computer networks allegedly used by hackers to steal banking information have been busted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Interpol and government agencies from several European countries, according to The New York Times and other media outlets.
U.S. and European officials have been quoted as saying that by taking over control of the networks, they have disrupted two of the world's most devastating and pervasive viruses, which have hit millions of computers worldwide.
The sting operation targeted GameOver Zeus, through which foreign hackers target the data of U.S. banks, and CryptoLocker, generally used to infect computers in a way that makes data become inaccessible through encryption (American Banker June 3). The latter is referred to as "ransomware" because hackers subsequently demand money to release the victim's computer files from encryption.
The Times reported that since CryptoLocker started spreading in 2013, people have paid millions to retrieve usable files.
News media said that last weekend, government agents in Europe and the United States seized control of servers that operated the attacks. They identified a 30-year-old suspect from Russia, Evgeniy Bogachev, alleging that he is the person behind the attacks, according to court documents and Europol.