Europol has arrested six people as part of a wide-scale operation to crack down on cybercriminals who sell tools such as crypters and anti-AV that help attackers evade security defenses.

The operation involved authorities in several countries and over the course of several days earlier this month, Europol officials made arrests and conducted interviews in six countries. The investigation began when officials looked at suspects in Germany who the Europol agents believed to be behind the crypter and AV evasion tools.

“The first phase of the operation, also supported by Europol, was executed on 5 April 2016 and targeted the suspects behind a counter anti-virus and a crypter service, as well as the German customers of the two tools, through a large-scale coordinated action in all state criminal police offices in Germany,” Europol said in a statement.

After continuing to investigate the operation, Europol officials began seeking out the customers who were buying these tools. A few months later, the investigators zeroed in on suspects in a number of countries, including Cyprus, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and the U.K., and eventually arrested six people and interviewed 36 others.

Crypters are tools that cybercriminals use to help make files undetectable by anti-malware and other security tools. Cybercriminals have been using these tools for many years and ant-malware systems have adapted to help defeat them. But they still can be effective in some cases and the sale of these tools is still quite common on underground forums.

Europol officials said they also seized several devices as part of the operation.

CC By image from Florian Richter

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