The high-level cybercriminals and their accomplices are suspected of creating and distributing two banking Trojans, known as Zeus and SpyEye.
Europol confirmed the group is believed to be behind the malware. “The cybercriminals used malware to attack online banking systems in Europe and beyond, adapting their sophisticated banking Trojans over time to defeat the security measures implemented by the banks,” it said in a press release.
The criminal group is reported to have worked in countries across all continents targeting major banks, infecting tens of thousands of computers and producing an estimated €2 million ($2.2 million) in damages.
“In one of the most significant operations coordinated by the agency in recent years, Europol worked with an international team of investigators to bring down a very destructive cybercriminal group. With our international partners, we are committed to fighting the threats brought about by malware and other forms of cybercrime to realize safer technology infrastructures and online financial transactions for businesses and people the world over,” Europol Director Rob Wainwright said.
So far the operation has resulted in the arrests of 60 individuals – more than half of which were involved in a “money mule” network taken down by Dutch law enforcement authorities.
Ingrid Maschl-Clausen, a national member of Austria to Eurojust, praised the investigation, noting that the case “demonstrates that it is only possible to combat cybercrime in a successful and sustainable way if all actors – that means investigative judges and judicial authorities – coordinate and cooperate across the borders.”