The Malta Independent 5 March 2024, Tuesday
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Maltese man arrested as part of international operation investigating sale of illegal malware

Friday, 9 February 2024, 13:03 Last update: about 24 days ago

A Maltese man was arrested as part of an international operation investigating the sale of illegal malware over the dark web, the police said in a statement.

"The arrest by the Maltese police forms part of an FBI joint operation," the police said.

In an operation aimed at assisting investigations by the FBI in the USA, a Maltese 27-year-old man was arrested over the sale of illegal malware, and also in relation to mentoring over what is called a 'Hack Forum', the Maltese police said.

The man was later identified in court as being Daniel Joe Meli, who is from Zabbar and who, according to his social media profiles, works in the aviation industry.

This malware, known as a Remote Access Trojan (RAT), is used by criminals to gain access and take control of computers or servers of victims, the police explained. It is understood that there are several victims in the United States who fell victim to this RAT, the police said, adding that so far there don't appear to be any victims in Malta.

"Investigations in Malta were led by the CyberCrime Unit, after a request for assistance was sent from the USA, indicating that a prime suspect in the sale of this RAT is Maltese. These investigations led to the identification of the Maltese suspect and that he was in an association with other foreign criminals who do not reside in Malta."

The police said that on Wednesday, they arrested the suspect at his place of work in Gudja. While searches took place on a number of areas, a number of items tied to the investigation were found. The 27-year-old man was arraigned in court on Thursday for extradition proceedings to begin, in order to extradite the man to the USA to face charges before a court in America.

The police said that he gave consent to be extradited and he is currently being held at the Corradino Correctional Facility.

Tied to this investigation, a Nigerian who lives in Nigeria was also arrested, the police said, adding that operations in a number of other countries tied to the same sale of illegal malware are being led by Europol, with the involvement of other states, including the police in Australia, Canada, Croatia, Finland, The Netherlands, Romania, Germany and Nigeria.


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