Suspected Slovenian Super Hacker Sniffed Out
Andrew R. Hickey
The suspected ring leader of the massive Mariposa Botnet and a pair of other hackers have been arrested in their native Slovenia and will face charges that allege they cracked into the computer systems of several Fortune 1000 companies and international banks.
The 23 year-old point-man goes by the name "Iserdo," according to an FBI announcement. Slovenian law prohibits authorities from releasing the suspects' names. Iserdo was arrested on charges that he allegedly created the malicious code that infected as many 12 million computers worldwide.
The three suspected hackers are allegedly tied to the widespread Mariposa Botnet, which infected millions of computers and allowed hackers to glean information from the infected machines and launch denial-of-service attacks.
According to the FBI, the Mariposa Botnet was built with a virus known as the "Butterfly Bot" and was used to steal passwords for Websites and financial institutions. The FBI said the Mariposa Botnet was used to steal credit card and bank account information, launch denial-of-service attacks and spread viruses and it may have infected 8 million to 12 million computers.
"In the last two years, the software used to create the Mariposa Botnet was sold to hundreds of other criminals, making it one of the most notorious in the world," said FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III in a statement. "These cyber intrusions, thefts, and frauds undermine the integrity of the Internet and the businesses that rely on it; they also threaten the privacy and pocketbooks of all who use the Internet."
The Mariposa Botnet was disabled in February. At the time it was taken down, three suspected operators of the botnet were arrested by the Spanish Guardia Civil and are currently being prosecuted in Spain.
The FBI alleges that Iserdo created the "Butterfly Bot" and sold it to others worldwide to create networks of infected computers. He also allegedly created custom versions of the program for certain customers and built and sold plug-ins to augment its features and functionality. The two others are suspected to have used the botnet Iserdo created.
"To use an analogy here, as opposed to arresting the guy who broke into your home, we've arrested the guy that gave him the crowbar, the map and the best houses in the neighborhood," Jeffrey Troy, deputy assistant director for the FBI cyber division, told Associated Press.
The trio are expected to be charged with a host of computer-related crimes, Slovenian National Police press officer Leon Keder told PC World. The arrests follow a joint two-year probe by the FBI, Slovenian Criminal Police and the Spanish Guardia Civil.