* Some 3.2 million computers hacked to steal banking data
* Europol police worked with technology firms
* No word on arrests while operation ongoing
By Anthony Deutsch and Jim Finkle
AMSTERDAM/BOSTON, Feb 25 A cybercrime ring that
used 3.2 million hacked computers worldwide to steal banking
information by seizing control of servers has been disrupted by
European police and technology companies, officials said on
Europol's European Cybercrime Centre coordinated the
operation out of its headquarters in The Hague, targeting the
so-called Ramnit botnet, a network of computers infected with
It worked with investigators from Germany, Italy, the
Netherlands and Britain and was assisted by companies
Anubisnetwork, Microsoft and Symantec, which
said 3.2 million computers were hacked.
"We worked together to shut down the command and control
servers for the network in various countries across the European
Union," Paul Gillen, head of operations at the cybercrime
centre, told Reuters. "The criminals have lost control of the
infrastructure they were using."
Seven servers used by the cybercriminals were shut down
overnight, officials said.
The malware, installed through links on spam email or
infected websites, enabled culprits to take control of the PCs
and use them for criminal activities.
Computers around the world have been infected by the botnet,
but most users have been infected in Britain, Gillen said.
Ramnit has been infecting computers since 2012.
The British-led investigation is ongoing and Gillen said he
could not comment on any possible arrests of suspects because
that could interfere with police operations.
Europol, the European police agency, has been coordinating
cross border efforts to take down criminal infrastructure on the
Internet and bring to justice those responsible.
In November, U.S. and European authorities seized more than
400 secret website addresses and arrested suspects in an
operation targeting black markets for drugs and other illegal
services, known as Silk Road 2.0.
(Editing by Alison Williams)