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    German investigators identify masterminds behind malware

    According to information from Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) and “Zeit Online”, criminal prosecutors from the Baden-Württemberg State Criminal Police Office have identified a suspected mastermind behind the REvil malware. The software is one of the most notorious programs for ransomware attacks, according to reports on Thursday. In Germany, among other things, the State Theater Stuttgart, several medium-sized companies and hospitals are affected.

    Ransomware – also known as blackmail trojans – is software that is infiltrated into the system and blocks computers and other systems. The operators are then blackmailed so that the systems can be reactivated. The term contains the English word for ransom (“ransom”).

    The suspect is said to be a Russian citizen who lives in a large city in the south of the country. According to the investigators, he should “undoubtedly” belong to the core group of REvil and its alleged predecessor Gandcrab. Reporters from the BR and from “Zeit Online” found evidence that the suspect had received money that is said to come directly from ransomware cases.

    Neither the investigating authorities – the Federal Criminal Police Office and the State Criminal Police Office of Baden-Württemberg – nor the Stuttgart public prosecutor’s office wanted to comment on the media’s request. The suspect did not respond to inquiries either.

    In the online networks, the man presented himself as a trader in cryptocurrencies with a luxurious lifestyle, for example with expensive sports cars, designer clothes and luxury travel. As long as he is in Russia, however, he cannot be arrested by German prosecutors. (AFP)

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