SPAIN – The mastermind behind the world’s biggest computer hacking scam was arrested. Even the best screw up!
The Mariposa bonnet was shut down in Spain after a simple mistake tipped off officials. The masterminds forgot to disguise their computer IP address. It’s thought that the hackers had infected more than 13 million PCs with a virus that stole personal information and credit card numbers.
A bonnet is a network of computers that can be controlled by the virus’ creator. This particular bonnet is thought to have been one of the largest controlled by a single group.
Mariposa was initially spread by taking advantage of a weakness in the defenses of Microsoft’s web browser, Internet Explorer. The web browser is used by over 70 percent of people surfing the net. In addition, the virus also spread by contaminating USB memory sticks.
The masterminds were able to infect computers in 190 countries in more than half the world’s 1,000 largest companies and at least 40 big financial institutions.
The virus was finally blocked thanks to the help of two specialist internet security firms. Canada’s Defense Intelligence and Spain’s Panda Security were able to crack the virus and help Spanish police stop the group of hackers.
“It was so nasty, we thought. ‘We have to turn this off. We have to cut off its head’,” said Chris Avis, chief executive officer of Defense Intelligence.
Police have arrested three suspects thought to be the group responsible. They are due to appear before Spain’s National Court in Madrid. The three men went by the moniker Nightmare Days Team.
Mariposa is the Spanish word for butterfly. This butterfly has been squashed and the personal information of millions has been saved. It just goes to show that even the best, no matter at what, make a mistake here or there.

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