UK arrest made as European police raid homes over malware

British police have arrested a man as part of an international malware investigation Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption British police have arrested a man as part of an international malware investigation

British police have arrested a 28-year-old man following an international series of raids over smartphone malware called DroidJack.

The UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) confirmed the arrest after it was reported that raids took place in five European countries and the US.

DroidJack allows criminals to spy on smartphone data traffic, eavesdrop on conversations and hijack the camera.

No further arrests have yet been reported.

"I can confirm that the NCA arrested a 28-year-old male from Carlisle under suspicion of computer misuse act offences," an NCA spokesman told the BBC.

The spokesman said the arrest was made in connection with the international DroidJack operation and added that the suspect has been bailed for six months.

Officers in the UK, Germany, France, Belgium and Switzerland raided several properties connected to suspected users of malware known as DroidJack.

The searches were reported by the AFP and Reuters news agencies while Europol also say that raids were conducted in the United States.

A total of 13 homes were raided in Germany according to the local prosecutor's office, while news agencies also reported a single raid in Switzerland.

The German suspects were aged between 19 and 51.

'Every move' tracked

DroidJack is a remote access trojan or "Rat", which is openly sold online for $210 (£137), and affects Android devices only.

"It can track a user's every move without their knowledge," explained Peter Coogan, principal security response manager at Symantec.

"There was a documented case back in 2014, I think, where it was being sent out via spam email and pretending to be a bank. It is likely at that time that they were trying to steal banking details off the phone," he told the BBC.

Mr Coogan added that he has tracked discussion of the malware on underground hacking forums where DroidJack has been marketed.

"More people will have purchased it and are probably using it," he said.

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