As this blog has mentioned, the current capabilities of identity thieves have become increasingly complex, to the point where entire communities exist online for the illegal distribution of other people's personal payment information. This goes far beyond the malware and other security breaches that can effect card processing software, and suggests the sort of structure that should make merchants extremely wary of possible risks when setting up their systems.

Fortunately, there's news of one such international group that has allegedly done just that being brought to justice. PC World reports that one suspect believed to be a major figure in a network that spans from the U.K. to Vietnam, has been apprehended. Ten others are also said to have been arrested, with this band of criminals reportedly having racked up a total of $200 million on more than a million credit cards.

Compromised payment information was posted to two "mattfeuter" websites, where eager parties could pay for data obtained through various businesses processing credit card payments online, reportedly stretching all the way back to 2007 and encompassing victims across the globe.

The National Cyber Crime Unit's Andy Archibald described the seriousness of this kind of crime and the efforts being made to thwart it.

"Those engaged in this type of crime should know that they are neither anonymous, nor beyond the reach of law enforcement agencies," he said on the British Serious Organized Crime Agency blog. 

Patching up possible weak spots in the ways in which merchants are handling credit card processing systems should be just the beginning as more business operators become aware of the serious extent of these kinds of organizations.