IN a joint operation with the Brazilian authorities and Interpol, Spain’s National Police has busted an international criminal gang that was using malware to infect the computers of Spanish online banking customers. The organisation is thought to have stolen as much as €120 million from victims around the world.

The members of the network would use software known as Grandoreiro to attack computers in a series of different countries, but with a particular focus on Spain. 

A total of 133 arrests were made in Spain. The detainees are suspected of acting as mules to receive the stolen money. Five of the ringleaders were also detained in Brazil. 

The operation began in 2020 when the use of the Grandoreiro malware, which works as a trojan, was detected in Spain. 

The criminals would send emails that looked like they had come from digital banks, but once opened would install the computer virus on people’s computers.

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The gang is thought to have stolen as much as €120 million.

They would then be able to make transfers or apply for loans by requesting passwords or single-use SMS codes from their victims. 

The ringleaders, who were located in Sao Paulo, Brazil, would launch the attacks, while the members of the gang who received the ill-gotten money were based in Spain. 

Police are hoping that investigations into the computers of the gang will provide more information about the attacks on Spanish banking customers. 

Spain’s National Police has issued a series of recommendations to avoid falling for such scams, including not opening emails or clicking on links from unknown senders, keeping software up to date, and never giving anyone your passwords or bank details over the phone or SMS. 

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