UK cybercops cuff ZeuS Trojan suspect pair

Alleged Bonnie and Clyde of malware


A Manchester couple have been arrested on suspicion of using the notorious ZeuS Trojan horse to commit banking fraud.

The unnamed man and woman, both 20, were arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police's newly established Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) on 3 November. The pair were arrested for offences under 1990 Computer Misuse Act and the 2006 Fraud Act, questioned by police and released on bail pending further inquiries.

The ZeuS or Zbot information-stealing Trojan is reckoned to have infected tens of thousands of computers around the world. Zbot is designed to record users' online bank account details, passwords and other personal information, before uploading this data onto servers controlled by cybercriminals.

Detective Inspector Colin Wetherill of the PCeU commented: "The ZeuS Trojan is a piece of malware used increasingly by criminals to obtain huge quantities of sensitive information from thousands of compromised computers around the world. The arrests represent a considerable breakthrough in our increasing efforts to combat online criminality."

The Manchester arrests are the first made in Europe in connection with the malware.

ZeuS is typically spammed out to prospected marks in emails with malicious attachments. A variety of social engineering tricks are used to con victims into opening these messages, or into following a link to a booby-trapped website and becoming infected.

"[ZeuS] is not just a single piece of malicious software - it's a family with many different members, all adopting different disguises in their attempt to infect users and steal information that could allow hackers to break into your bank account and social networking profiles," explained Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at anti-virus firm Sophos. ®

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