In a joint effort between law enforcement in Germany, Belarus, and the United States, as well as help from experts at Microsoft and other worldwide cybersecurity agencies, an operation to take down one of Eastern Europe’s most notorious cybercriminal networks has been a success.
Reports state that police were able to track the suspect to the city of Rechitsa, a suburb of Gomel in Belarus. Swedish-American cybersecurity firm Recorded Future believes the suspect law enforcement has taken into custody is a hacker well-respected in the criminal underground known as Ar3s, the administrator of the Andromeda Network.
The Andromeda Network is a sophisticated piece of software that is used to control a series of botnets. When unwitting users become infected with the software, their computer is able to be controlled remotely. Officials say that as one of the oldest pieces of malware software in existence today, Andromeda not only controlled botnets for their own financial scams but later leased the software to other individuals and organizations wishing to do the same. Since 2011, the software has infected more than 1 million computers per month throughout the world, Reuters reports.
While many sources have not yet named the suspect, Ar3s is believed to be 33-year-old Sergei Yarets. Reuters was able to track Yarets down on social media where he has identified himself as technical director of OJSC “Televid”, a broadcasting company stationed in southeastern Belarus.
Information about the operation has slowly been trickling into the media throughout the past two days. So far there is no further information on additional arrests connected to the takedown of the Andromeda Network at this time.