Spanish police have dismantled a massive botnet that took over nearly 13 million PCs and used them to steal credit card and online banking details, according to the Associated Press.
The Mariposa botnet first appeared in December 2008 and has infected around 12.7 million computers in over 190 countries. More than half of the Fortune 1000 companies and over 40 major banks have had PCs affected.
The botnet is understood to have infected computers by instant-messaging malicious links to contacts on infected computers. It also got viruses onto removable thumb drives and through peer-to-peer networks.
Spanish authorities working with private computer security firms now claim to have smashed Mariposa and arrested three alleged ringleaders, says the AP.
The suspects, who are Spanish citizens, have not been named but go by the Internet handles "netkairo," 31, "jonyloleante," 30 and "ostiator," 25. The Guardia Civil is now examining seized computers and bank records in a bid to determine how much money the gang stole.
Authorities bust 3 in infection of 13m computers - AP