Writing

A Big Hacking Arrest

I wrote a quick WIRED story today about the arrest in Spain over the weekend of one of the world’s top spammers. The operation, which also involved the take-down of the Kelihos botnet—one of the world’s longest-running and most nefarious networks of infected computers—was done, in part, by the same team I wrote about for my cover story in this month’s WIRED about the hunt for the hacker behind GameOver Zeus.

This weekend, Spanish police nabbed Russian hacker Peter Yuryevich Levashov, also known as Peter Severa, or “Peter of the North,” while he was on vacation with his family. It’s the latest in a string of high-profile hackers who have been arrested while vacationing—which, as silly as it sounds, does show part of the challenge of the hacking lifestyle: These guys are making tremendous amounts of money, but limited in their opportunities to spend it at home in Russia—and their desire to live a life of high-luxury ends up putting them in places where western law enforcement can snag them.