The Metropolitan Police's Computer Crime Unit and Finnish law enforcement agencies have arrested three men for allegedly being members of a virus-writing gang.
A 63-year-old man in Ipswich, a 28-year-old man living in the Grampian region of Scotland, and a 19-year-old man in Helsinki have been arrested on a charge of conspiring to infect computers with malware. Those arrested are suspected of being members of the m00p malware writing group.
Police are now examining computer equipment seized at the residential addresses raided.
Security software company Sophos said the m00p group was believed to have written malware to create a zombie network (or botnet) of compromised computers under their control.
Such a network could be used to spread viruses and spyware across the internet, without the owners of the compromised computers knowing.
Sophos said many pieces of malware included references to the m00p gang, including the W32/Dogbot spyware worm, and the Troj/Hackarmy-C, Troj/Santabot-A, Troj/Shuckbot-A, W32/Rbot-BF, and W32/Tibick-A threats.
References to m00p are also contained inside the Stinx Trojan horse, which was circulated widely, attached to e-mails with the subject line "Photo Approval Needed".
In 2003, Welsh virus writer Simon Vallor was sentenced to two years’ jail for malware he had created.