• 22-year-old suspected to be behind international ring
  • Investigators seized computers, weapons and drugs in raids

German police have arrested the main suspect in a ring of globally operating cyber criminals.

Investigators in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate arrested the 22-year-old and one other individual from a group alleged to have sold hacking software to other Internet criminals, prosecutors in the city of Koblenz said Wednesday. About 170 suspects are being investigated as part of the probe.

The alleged ring sold software to conceal viruses, blackmail individuals and steal items such as passwords and banking data, prosecutors said in a statement. About 700 police raided 175 apartments and offices across Germany on Tuesday and also searched properties in the Netherlands, France and Canada. Among the items seized were computers as well as weapons and drugs.

Attempts to steal private and company information are becoming more frequent with the likes of T-Mobile US Inc., Dixons Carphone Plc and Sony Corp. having sustained cyber attacks in the past. Adultery website AshleyMadison.com was hit in July by hackers who ended up releasing information they said included details on more than 36 million users, including full names, e-mails and banking information.

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