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Mariposa mastermind arrested in Slovenia

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Investigators have released more details on the arrest of a Slovenian hacker suspected of creating the code behind the infamous Mariposa botnet.

The 23-year-old suspect - known only by his hacker handle of Iserdo - was arrested in Maribor, Slovenia 10 days ago, five months after Spanish police arrested three suspects who alleged used the Mariposa code to create a 12 million botnet.

Iserdo was arrested alongside with two other suspects in Slovenia as part of a joint FBI-Slovenian investigation that has since focused on the 23-year-old.

The FBI, Spain's Guardia Civil and Slovenian police are continuing to co-operate in investigating the case, which may lead to further international arrests of hackers who used the Mariposa botnet to steal banking login credentials or to commit other forms of cybercrime. Mariposa botnet cybercrime kits were on sale in underground forums for between $500 and $1,300, with higher prices charged for more customised versions of the software.

Jeffrey Troy, deputy assistant director for the FBI's cyber division, described Iserdo's arrest as a major break in the ongoing investigation. "As opposed to arresting the guy who broke into your home, we've arrested the guy that gave him the crowbar, the map and the best houses in the neighbourhood," Troy told AP.

Iserdo, who faces unspecified charges, has been released on police bail pending further inquiries. The alleged VXer's website has been taken down, along with the command and control servers of the main Mariposa botnet, but Panda Security has a screenshot of the site and extracts from price lists in a blog post here. ®

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