By Elinor Mills
March 2, 2010
Authorities in Spain have arrested three men accused of operating a
massive botnet composed of 12.7 million PCs that stole credit card and
bank log-in data and infected computers in half of the Fortune 1,000
companies and more than 40 banks, according to published reports.
The botnet "Mariposa," which means butterfly in Spanish, first appeared
in December 2008 and grew to be one of the largest botnets ever, The
Associated Press reported. It spread the Butterfly worm via removable
drives, MSN Messenger, and peer-to-peer programs and targets Windows XP
and older systems.
Unlike many underground hackers, the alleged ringleaders of the
operation were not skilled programmers, but had contacts who were,
"They're not like these people from the Russian mafia or Eastern
European mafia who like to have sports cars and good watches and good
suits--the most frightening thing is they are normal people who are
earning a lot of money with cybercrime," Cesar Lorenza, a captain with
Spain's Guardia Civil, which is investigating the case, told the news
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