A Russian man linked to America’s 2016 election hacking was arrested in Barcelona on Friday, following a joint U.S.-Spanish operation.
36-year-old Pyotr Levashov described in U.S. court documents made public Monday as “one of the world’s most notorious criminal spammers” is said to be the head of a computer network that sends spam mails worldwide every year.
His arrest is coming after U.S. authorities announced Monday they are working to dismantle a global computer network that sent hundreds of millions of spam emails worldwide each year.
The arrest of Levashov set cybersecurity circles abuzz after his wife told Russia’s RT broadcaster that he was being linked to America’s 2016 election hacking.
Reports say Levashov controls Kelihos botnet, which at times was made up of more than 100,000 compromised computers that sent phony emails advertising counterfeit drugs and work-at-home scams, harvested users’ logins and installed malware that intercepted their bank account passwords.
Vasily Nioradze, a spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Madrid, confirmed the arrest, but wouldn’t say whether Levashov was a programmer. Nioradze wouldn’t comment on reports of a U.S. extradition order. “As it is routine in these cases, we offer consular support to our citizen,” he said.
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