The two U.K. men--a 19-year-old electrician and an unemployed 21-year-old man--were interviewed Thursday by the London-based National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU).
The move follows the use of search warrants this morning in County Durham in the north of England. Two addresses were searched and evidence was retrieved relating to computer and drugs offences.
The operation was jointly conducted by officers from the Durham Constabulary and the U.S. multiagency CATCH team (Computer and Technology Crime Hi-Tech Response Team), which is based in Southern California.
A simultaneous search warrant was used at an address in Illinois in the United States, where additional evidence in the case was seized.
The two U.K.-based men have been identified as members of an international hacking group known as "THr34t-Krew". The NHTCU says this group is behind a virus that has infected approximately 18,000 computers worldwide. The virus, known as the TK worm, has been found to be present in a number of computers in the United Kingdom. The cost of the disruption caused is estimated at about $9 million.
Mick Deats, detective superintendent and deputy head of the NHTCU, said in a statement: "Hacking and virus writing are serious crimes. They are costing U.K. firms millions of pounds in lost business and downtime. Our task is to track down those people who seek to hamper companies by reducing their ability to do business."
The NHTCU was unable to comment further, as criminal proceedings are now active in connection with the charges.