An international crime gang which used malware to steal $ 100m (£ 77m) from more than 40,000 victims has been dismantled. A complex police operation conducted in the US, Bulgaria, Germany, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
The gang infected computers with GozNym malware, which captured online banking details to access bank accounts.
The gang was put together from criminals who advertised their skills on online forums
The details of the operation were revealed at the headquarters of the European police agency Europol in The Hague
It said that the investigation was unprecedented, especially in terms of cross-border co-operation
The members of the network have been charged in Pittsburgh, US on a range of offenses, including stealing money and laundering those funds using US and foreign bank accounts. nts.
Five Russian nationalities remain on the run, including one who developed the GozNym malware and oversaw its development and management, including leasing it to other cyber-criminals.
Various other members now face prosecution in other countries, including:
- The leader of the network, along with his technical assistant, faces charges in Georgia
- Another member, whose role was to take over different bank accounts, has been extradited to the US from Bulgaria to face trial [1
- Two more face charges in Germany for money laundering
Among the victims were small businesses, law firms, international corporations and non-profit organizations
One of the things that the operation has highlighted is how common the selling of nefarious cyber skills has become, says Prof Alan Woodward, a computer scientist from University of Surrey.
"The developers of this malware advertised their" product 'so that other criminals could use their service to conduct banking fraud.
' What is known as 'crime as a service' has been a growing feature in recent years, allowing organized crime gangs to switch from their traditional haunts or drugs to much more lucrative cyber-crime. "
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What is GozNym?
malware, Nymaim and Gozi
The first of these is what is known as a "dropper", software that is designed to sneak other malware on to a device and install it Up to 2015, Nymaim was used primarily to get ransomware on to devices
Gozi has been around since 20 07. Over the years it has resurfaced with new techniques, all aimed at stealing financial information. It was used in concerted attacks on US banks.  Analysis: Anna Holligan, BBC Hague correspondent
Unsuspecting citizens thought they were a simple link – instead they gave hackers access to their most intimate details.
US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Scott Brady stood alongside prosecutors and cyber-crime fighters from five other nations inside Europol's high security headquarters, to announce the takedown of what he described as a "global conspiracy".
The suspected ringleader used GozNym malware and contracted various cyber-crime services – hard to detect bulletproof hosting platforms, money mules and spammers 'bank accounts.
Gang members in four countries have been charged – a coup for cyber-crime fighters who say the discovery of this sophisticated scam demonstrates the borderless nature of cyber-crime and need for cross-border operation to detect and disrupt these networks.