Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global
network of virus, spyware and spam analysis centers, have welcomed
the news that German authorities have apprehended 11 people
suspected of running a hacking ring.
According to media reports,
police arrested suspects aged between 15 and 22 years old in
Baden-Württemberg, Hamburg, Lower Saxony North Rhine-Westphalia and
Rhineland-Palatinate and confiscated computers for forensic
According to Ausberg police spokesman Manfred Gottschalk, seven
of the suspects are under 18 years of age.
The gang is said to have been based around an internet forum
called 'hacksector' which boasted more than 33,000 members.
Authorities claim that the German-language site principal
discussions were around hacking and the exchange of stolen credit
card information. There was also information published explaining
how to create fake German identity cards within minutes.
Police are now examining the 20 computers, numerous external
hard drives and approximately 1000 CDs they confiscated during the
raids, as they investigate whether the teenage gang were intending
to steal personal information from innocent computer users.
"Although the internet is by-and-large a wonderful thing, there
are some corners of the worldwide web which are dedicated to crime.
The price of freedom-of-speech is that sites exist where people are
given free reign to discuss how to make other peoples' lives a
misery," said Graham
Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Businesses
and home users alike need to be on their guard against emerging
internet threats, as criminals become ever more organized in their
attempts to separate us from our belongings."
Sophos experts report that this is just the latest in a string
of arrests made by police around the world in their fight against
organized cybercriminals. For instance, in February, Sophos
reported how 17 alleged
hackers had been apprehended by police in Quebec, Canada.
Sophos recommends all computer users protect themselves with a
consolidated solution which can control network access
and defend against the threats of spam, hackers, spyware and