Two men were arrested Thursday on suspicion of being part of an international group that police blamed for damaging computer systems worldwide through a virus-like Internet worm.
A 19-year-old electrician was held in Darlington, northeastern England, and a 21-year-old unemployed man was in custody in nearby Durham in an operation involving the U.S. Secret Service, the FBI, the Department of Justice and Britain's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit.
Authorities say the two men are part of an international gang of Internet hackers who call themselves the "THr34t-Krew."
Police say their homes were searched and computers seized, and they were being questioned on Thursday by the Crime Unit.
At the same time, another suspected hacker base was searched in Illinois and more computers found, they said.
Police say an Internet worm created by THr34t-Krew several years ago has now infected about 18,000 computers worldwide.
Last month, a different worm, dubbed "Slammer" or "Sapphire," struck hundreds of thousands of computers, clogging Internet pipelines and slowing traffic for Internet users.
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