Spain busts 'ransomware' cybercrime ring

Spain busts 'ransomware' cybercrime ring, 11 detained including gang's Russian leader

Associated Press

MADRID (AP) -- Spanish authorities say they have broken up a cybercrime gang that used a "ransomware" virus to lock computers throughout Europe, display a false message claiming the action was taken by police, and demand payment of €100 ($135) to unlock the computers.

Authorities say the gang, operating from the Mediterranean resort cities of Benalmadena and Torremolinos, was making at least €1 million ($1.35 million) annually. Their notices to victims were accompanied by false threats claiming they were under investigation for accessing child pornography or illegal file-sharing.

Spain's Interior Ministry said in a statement Wednesday that the gang's 27-year-old Russian founder was detained in the United Arab Emirates while on vacation and that an extradition petition is pending. Six more Russians, two Ukrainians and two Georgians were arrested in Spain last week.

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