The head of a cyber-crime group was arrested in Spain, after stealing €1bn

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Police arrested him north of Barcelona. Authorities have not released his name, and a photo police issued showing his detention blurred his face. During his arrest, the suspect told authorities he was a diplomat and “minister of telecommunications and foreign relations of the Republic of CyberBunker.” The group, active since 2013, stealed about £870m (€1bn). Europol said theyinfiltrated more than 100 banks in that time.

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Cash was siphoned off via bank transfers or dispensed automatically through cash machines. Steven Wilson, head of Europol’s Cyber-Crime Centre (EC3), co-ordinated the long-running, cross-border investigation into the group. “The arrest of the key figure in this crime group illustrates that cyber-criminals can no longer hide behind perceived international anonymity,” he said. The gang used three separate generations of malware, each one more sophisticated than the last. Cash machines were ordered to remotely dispense money at specific times; inter-bank money transfer systems were instructed to move cash into criminal accounts; databases were altered to increase account balances which then were removed via cash machines. Europol, the FBI, cyber-security firms and polices forces in Spain, Romania, Belarus and Taiwan all collaborated to track down the gang. Police say the suspect traveled around Spain in a van he used as a mobile office.

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