Romanian law enforcement dismantled a cyber criminal gang that has stolen over $15 million from banks

Pierluigi Paganini April 28, 2015

Romanian law enforcement dismantled a cyber criminal gang operating worldwide that has stolen over $15 million from banks and financial institutions.

Romanian law enforcement has discovered and arrested 25 people who are suspected of being members of an international criminal crew who was specialized in banking hacking and cloning of payment cards. According to the Romanian Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), the cyber thieves have stolen more than $15 million from financial institutions in Puerto Rico and Muscat (Oman).

Law enforcement executed 42 house search warrants in the country and seizing computers and smartphone used by the criminals for their illegal activities. They also seized €150,000 in cash, paintings and gold bars weighing 2 kilograms.

The investigators believed that other members of the gang are still at large, they suspect that the organization is composed at least of 52 members of different nationalities.

The attack chain is simple as effective, the criminals have stolen payment card data associated with the accounts of large corporations and then used stolen card data to clone the cards and used them to withdraw money from ATMs in different countries.

hacking ATM law enforcement Romania Gang

According to Romanian prosecutors, the members of the gang made the withdrawals in batches in a short period, they used to operate in non-business days. According to the investigators the members of the gangs performed withdrawals in many other countries, including the US, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates and the UK.

“On Feb. 20, 2013, for example, members of the gang withdrew $9 million from ATMs in Japan. On Dec. 2 that same year, the gang made around 4,200 withdrawals from ATMs across 15 Romanian cities, totalling $5 million.reported CSOonline.

The organization appears structured and operated also real estate investments to reinvest the proceeds of criminal activity.

Unfortunately, many other cyber gangs operate in a similar way, in May 2013 the law enforcement arrested members of a gang that has stolen $45 million from ATMs worldwide.

In that case, US law enforcement uncovered a vast fraud arranged by a cyber gang that exploited out of date card technology to empty cash machines in 27 countries from Canada to Russia.

In February, another cyber gang dubbed Carbanak has been discovered by law enforcement thanks the investigation made by researchers at Kaspersky Lab.  Carbanak Cybergang swiped over $1 Billion from banks worldwide.

Stay tuned …

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  stolen card data, Romania law enforcement)

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