European police target anti-malware detection services and their customers

Pierluigi Paganini June 15, 2017

An international operation conducted by the European police targeted customers of counter antivirus and crypter services: 6 arrested and tens of interviewed

The Germany’s Kriminalinspektion Mayen along with the Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) have arrested six individuals and interviewed dozens of suspects as part of an international law enforcement operation targeting the users of two tools designed to help malware evade detection by security software.

“Between 5 and 9 June, 6 suspects were arrested and 36 were interviewed during an internationally coordinated operation in 6 European countries.” states the announcement published by the Europol. “The targets are all suspected customers of a counter anti-virus platform and crypter service – two cybercriminal tools used for testing and clouding of malware samples to prevent security software solutions from recognising them as malicious.”

The authorities seized hundreds of desktop and laptop devices, smartphones, and storage devices.

The first phase of the police operation, codenamed Neuland, took place in April 2016 and targeted the operators of two anti-malware detection services, and their customers based in Germany.

“The first phase of the operation, also supported by Europol, was executed on 5 April 2016 and targeted the suspects behind a counter anti-virus and a crypter service , as well as the German customers of the two tools, through a large-scale coordinated action in all state criminal police offices in Germany.” continues the report.

The police arrested a 22-year-old individual and searched the homes of 170 other from Germany, law enforcement also searched home other countries, including France, the Netherlands, and Canada.

It is interesting to note that the average age of the suspects was 23-

On Wednesday, the Europol announced the second phase of the operation that took place last week when the police targeted the international customers of the two anti-malware detection services.

“The second phase of this operation, from 5 to 9 June 2017, specifically targeted the international customers of the same two services. The following countries participated in this phase: Cyprus, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom. Police officers searched 20 houses and 6 suspects were arrested, while 36 additional suspects have been interviewed so far. A large number of devices have also been seized. ” states the Europol.

A joint operation conducted by police in Cyprus, Norway, the Netherlands, Italy and the UK resulted in the arrest six people, a and questioned 36 other suspects. Police searched 20 houses and also in this case they seized electronics equipment and devices.

This isn’t the first time, police targets operators on anti-malware detection services, in November 2015 the police in the United Kingdom arrested two individuals. arrested.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – anti-malware detection services, Europol)

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