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Germany leads European police raid against spyware users

European authorities collaborated in a five-nation crackdown on people suspected of using spy malware to remotely access smartphones. Prosecutors in Frankfurt said the raids took place in Britain, France and Belgium.

In collaboration with the Frankfurt prosecutor's office, European authorities across five countries staged raids against suspected malware users, who employed software to illegally hijack smartphones.

"In an investigation initiated by Germany and supported by Europol and Eurojust, law enforcement officials from Germany, France, Britain, Belgium, Switzerland and the United States have carried out a number of house searches and arrests of suspected users of the mobile phone malware DroidJack," Europol said in a statement

The European policing authority said the malware called DroidJack "allows cybercriminals to take over control of Android smartphones without their owners noticing."

In Germany, police conducted raids in Bavaria, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Bremen and Baden-Württemberg.

Prosecutors in Frankfurt said the raids targeted people who had bought the spyware between 2014 and 2015, adding that the suspects ranged from 19 to 51 years of age.

According to German authorities, the suspects had no links, though no details were offered on how they discovered them.

DroidJack can be used to hijack an Android smartphone and listen in on conversations, use the camera and send text messages without the user's knowledge.

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ls/jil (AFP, Reuters, dpa)