Two individuals allegedly behind the notorious Zeus or Zbot Trojan have been arrested in Manchester, UK.
Metropolitan Police officers swooped in a morning raid on a man and woman, both aged 20, arresting them on suspicion of distributing the Trojan horse, which attempted to acquire a computer users login details for e-mail, social media and online banking software.
Both were reportedly arrested on November 3 but were later released on bail pending further enquiries.
Zeus (also known as Zbot, PRG, Wsnpoem and Gorhax), gained notoriety due to the manner and scale of which it spread via drive-by-download, which typically means that the program was downloaded when the user believed that they were downloading another file, such as an email attachment, which was infected with the Trojan. The program then hid itself on a user’s PC, logging keystrokes whenever a user was promoted to enter login credentials, such as for online banking, social media or email.
The Trojan, first discovered in July 2007, went on to claim a number of high-profile victims in the space of just two years, including NASA, ABC, Bank of America, Oracle, Amazon.com, Cisco and the US Department of Transportation.
Charlie McMurdie, Detective Superintendent with the Metropolitan Polices’ e-crime unit, noted that the suspects were the first in Europe to be detained over the widespread scam.
Speaking about the gravity of the Zbot Trojan program, she said: “This is known internationally as being a very significant malicious computer programme or malware. It is used for infecting or accessing personal information and in this instance we have 10,000 computers worldwide that have been infected”.