Spain police arrest eight members of worldwide hacking network

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

(c) 2013, Bloomberg News.

MADRID — Spain's national police, acting along with an unidentified U.S. security agency, arrested eight members of a global banking hacking network responsible for stealing more than $60 million from cash machines worldwide.

Spanish police said in a statement on Sunday they had arrested six Romanians and two Moroccans in the suburbs of Madrid. Police seized material including 25,000 euros ($34,000) in cash, jewelry, computers and about 1,000 unused cards.

In February, the group acted simultaneously in 23 countries and stole $40 million in just a few hours through 34,000 cash withdrawals, the police said. Of those, 446 were from cash machines in Madrid in one night as the Spanish part of the group stole almost $400,000, it said.

"Most of the organization that was based in Spain has been dismantled," the police said. "It was starting to reorganize to carry out a similar attack in different European Union countries and even in Japan."

The leader of the network was arrested in Germany, the police said. He was an information technology expert who hacked into the databases of credit card processing companies.

The U.S. had been investigating the illegal activities carried out by a complex organization involved in cash withdrawals since 2007, according to the statement.