German police arrest international cyber ring suspect

An analyst looks at code in the malware lab of a cyber security defense lab at the Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, Idaho September 29, 2011. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

BERLIN (Reuters) - Police investigating a ring of global cyber criminals arrested the 22-year-old main suspect in Germany and carried out raids across several countries, prosecutors in the west German city of Koblenz said on Wednesday. About 700 police carried out early morning raids on 175 apartments and office buildings in every one of Germany's sixteen states on Tuesday and also searched properties in the Netherlands, France and Canada. More than 300 computers and data storage devices were seized as well as drugs and weapons. A second individual was also arrested. The internationally active ring allegedly sold software to conceal malware from anti-virus programs. The software was used to steal passwords and banking data and could be used for fraud and to blackmail individuals, prosecutors said. About 170 suspects are being investigated as part of the probe. Cyber attacks against companies and individuals are on the rise with criminals stealing personal or sensitive data or infecting and shutting down computer networks and then demanding payment in return for unlocking them. (Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Angus MacSwan)