Coppers shut down “worlds largest Botnet”

Inspector Knacker of the Spanish Yard has fingered the collar of three men accused of running the world’s largest a credit card gathering bot net.

Coppers think the three ran the Mariposa botnet, named after the Spanish word for butterfly.

More than 13 million PCs were infected with a virus that stole credit card numbers and other data.

Mariposa had infected machines in 190 countries including more than half of the world’s 1000 largest companies and at least 40 big financial institutions.

The botnet was bought down thanks to the efforts of Insecurity experts Defense Intelligence of Canada and Panda Security of Spain

Chris Davis, CEO of Defense Intelligence, which discovered the virus last year said that the botnet was so nasty that turning it off was not enough.

It is not clear how much money the botnet nicked before it was closed. But the cost of removing the virus from 13 million machines could run into tens of millions of dollars.

Mariposa was spread by exploiting a vulnerability in Microsoft’s IE. It also contaminated machines by infecting USB memory sticks and by sending out tainted links using Microsoft’s MSN instant messaging software.

According to AP, the suspected ringleader, nicknamed “Netkairo” and “hamlet1917,” was arrested last month, as were two alleged partners, “Ostiator” and “Johnyloleante.”

When the coppers knocked on the door, one of the three was found with 800,000 people’s personal data on him and they don’t mean they found his phone book.