11 Arrested Over Malware Scam

A complex cybercrime network designed to extort money through spreading ransomware has been shut down.

Spanish authorities working with the European Union's law enforcement agency, Europol, have arrested 11 people, from countries including Russia, Georgia and Ukraine.

The software, was planted on targeted machines and accused the user of having viewed illegal content (such as images showing child sex abuse) Europol said.

The software then told the user that they must pay a "fine" before being able to continue to use the machine - as consistent with recent ransomware attacks highlighted in the media.

The Europol statement said: "By dressing the ransomware up to look as if it comes from a law enforcement agency, cybercriminals convince the victim to pay the 'fine' of 100 euros [$130; £85] through two types of payment gateways - virtual and anonymous - as a penalty for the alleged offence.

"The criminals then go on to steal data and information from the victim's computer.

"Since the virus was detected in May 2011, there have been more than 1,200 reported cases just in Spain, and the number of victims could be much higher."

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