UPDATED 00:09 EDT / JUNE 16 2017


European police arrest six members of a counter-antivirus service ring

Police in Europe have arrested six people and questioned 39 others in relation to a cybercrime ring that involved the distribution of counter-antivirus software and a crypter service, which encrypts and conceals malware.

Lead by Germany’s Kriminalinspektion Mayen in conjunction with Europol, operation “Neuland” saw the arrest of people involved in the cybercrime ring in the U.K., Norway, Italy, the Netherlands and Cyprus. The individuals are alleged to have conspired to offered a number of tools that were able to circumvent traditional antivirus software. They also had a crypter service which could be used to hide malware, including keyloggers, Remote Access Trojans and viruses, from being detected by antivirus software.

“This case … illustrates the Crime as a Service model, as the services were offered to the criminals online,” Europol said in a press release, before rather bizarrely stating that the CaaS model was particularly liked by young people. “A third mention … relates to young individuals who may choose to follow the pathways into cybercrime by procuring cybercriminal tools online and conducting criminal activities online. In this case, the average age of all the suspects in the first phase was only 23 years old.”

By the numbers, a total of 201 personal computers and laptops, 84 smartphones, 130 external hard disks and other external storage devices were seized as part of the raids. Perhaps indicating that cybercriminals not only dabble in cybercrime alone, an unspecified amount of drugs were also discovered in the raids, meaning that those arrested are likely to face drug charges in addition to hacking- and cybercrime-related matters.

The raid follows a joint effort among authorities in the United States, Australia and Europe in December that saw the arrest of 34 individuals who had purchased DDoS-for-hire services.

Photo: Dickelbers/ Wikimedia Commons

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