Ukraine police arrested five individuals for their roles in a cyber-crime ring that used the Zeus Trojan to steal $70 million from U.S. banks accounts, the FBI said Friday.
The arrests were made Sept. 30, and targeted people the FBI said are "key suspects responsible for this overarching scheme." They came in conjunction with operations by authorities in the U.S. and the U.K. this week as part of an international crackdown on cyber-crime.
The investigation, known as operation Trident Breach began in May 2009, when FBI agents in Omaha, Neb., were notified of Automated Clearing House(ACH) batch payments to 46 separate bank accounts throughout the U.S, the FBI said. After realizing the scope of the crime, the FBI partnered with local and state police as well as foreign police agencies in the Netherlands, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
According to the FBI, the gang targeted small-to-midsized businesses, churches, municipalities and individuals by infecting PCs with a variant of Zeus, which was used to swipe bank account numbers and passwords. All totaled, the thieves attempted to steal $220 million, though there were only $70 million in actual losses.
The fraudsters also used foreigners on U.S. student visas as mules. The mules opened bank accounts under fake names and transferred the stolen money overseas, authorities said. In addition to the arrests in the Ukraine, U.K.police arrested 19 people this week, while the FBI charged dozens of people in the United States.
“No one country, no one company, and no one agency can stop cybercrime,” said FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III, in a statement. “The only way to do that is by standing together. For ultimately, we all face the same threat. Together, the FBI and its international partners can and will find better ways to safeguard our systems, minimize these attacks, and stop those who would do us harm.”

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