US election 'hacking': Russian man arrested in Spain at request of American authorities
An alleged Russian hacker has been arrested in Spain at the request of American authorities.
His arrest set cybersecurity circles abuzz after Russian broadcaster RT raised the possibility it was linked to the US presidential election.
Pyotr Levashov was arrested in Barcelona at the end of last week on a US computer crimes warrant, a spokeswoman for Spain's National Court, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with court rules, told the Associated Press.
Levashov's arrest drew immediate attention after his wife told RT he was linked to America's 2016 election hacking.
RT quoted Maria Levashova as saying armed police stormed into their apartment in Barcelona overnight, keeping her and her friend locked in a room for two hours while they quizzed Levashov.
She said when she spoke to her husband on the phone from the police station, he told her he was told he had created a computer virus that was "linked to Trump's election win."
Ms Levashova didn't elaborate, and the exact nature of the allegations weren't immediately clear.
According to the cybersecurity site KrebsOnSecurity, Levashov was allegedly responsible for "running multiple criminal operations tha tpaid virus writers and spammers to install 'fake antivirus' software" under the alias "Severa."
The site adds: "There is ample evidence that Severa is the cybercriminal behind the Waledac spam botnet, a spam engine that for several years infected between 70,000 and 90,000 computers and was capable of sending approximately 1.5 billion spam messages a day."
Malicious software is routinely shared, reworked and repurposed, meaning even a computer virus' creator may have little or nothing to do how the virus is eventually used.
Barack Obama's administration formally blamed Russia for attempting to influence the 2016 election by hacking the Democratic National Committee's emails to help Donald Trump's campaign.
The US Congress is also examining links between Russia and Mr Trump during the election campaign.
Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have repeatedly denied Russia tried to influence the election.