Kiwi arrested after Facebook sting

A Kiwi has been arrested after a sting on an alleged cybercrime ring. Photo / AP
A Kiwi has been arrested after a sting on an alleged cybercrime ring. Photo / AP

At least one person in New Zealand has been arrested as part of a FBI-led operation against an alleged international cybercrime ring, which is said to have stolen NZ$1billion from Facebook users.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement it arrested 10 suspects from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, New Zealand, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

"The operation identified international cybercrime rings that are linked to multiple variants of the Yahos malicious software, or malware, which is linked to more than 11 million compromised computer systems and over $850 million in losses via the Butterfly Botnet, which steals computer users' credit card, bank account, and other personal identifiable information," the FBI said.

The term "botnet" is short for robot network. Botnets are made up of compromised computer systems and can be used by cyber criminals to execute distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, send spam emails, and conduct underground organised criminal activity, the FBI said.

The Yahos malware targeted Facebook users from 2010 through to October this year.

The FBI said Facebook's security team provided assistance throughout the investigation, helping to identify the cause those responsible and those affected by the malware.

The agency credited assistance Bosnia and Herzegovina's Republika Srpska Ministry of Interior; Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Interior General Police Directorate, National Police Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime; New Zealand Police; Peruvian National Police; and the United Kingdom's Serious Organised Crime Agency.

The FBI recommended computer users update their applications and operating system on a regular basis to reduce the risk of compromise and perform regular anti-virus scanning of their computer system.

It also suggested users disconnect personal computers from the internet when the machines are not in use.


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