Teenage hacking gang busted in Bavaria

May 07, 2008 Sophos Press Release

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 examination.

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 viruses.