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Russian K-force operatives cuff suspected Carberp trojan bank raider

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Russian police have arrested a 22-year-old man suspected of running a bank fraud network that infected six million machines, raking in an estimated 150 million roubles ($4.5m or £2.9m) in ill-gotten gains in the process.

The unnamed suspect, who is alleged to be the hacker known by the online nicknames "Hermes" and "Arashi", is suspected of using variants of Carberp Trojan to establish networks of compromised PCs, and subsequently renting them out to other cybercrooks (mostly in Moscow and St Petersburg). The online identity "Hermes" has been linked with the process of embezzling funds as well as malware distribution, Russian cops said. Most of the victims of the embezzlement were Russian businesses and consumers, a key factor that explains why Russian law enforcement aggressively followed up the case.

Carberp first emerged on the online banking fraud scene around two years ago as a competitor to the dominant financial malware platforms, Zeus and SpyEye.

A statement by the Russian Interior Ministry (MVD) said the arrest of the suspect follows a 10-month long investigation, which was led by officers from Russia's MVD "K" Administration and assisted by Russian anti-virus firm Dr Web.

The interior ministry alleged that the suspect had used the proceeds of these crimes to buy a "luxurious house in one of the resorts in Russia and expensive premium-class foreign cars", according to an English language translation of the statement. The ministry said the suspect laundered the remaining funds through legal enterprises. The man in custody faces charges based on violation of three articles in Russia's criminal code, covering financial fraud, malware distribution and computer hacking offences.

Last week's developments follow the arrests of a group of eight men suspected of making millions in electronic banking fraud using the Carberp Trojan and other strains of malware by Russian police back in March. ®

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