Europol coordinated operation against international cybercrime ring

Pierluigi Paganini January 28, 2017

Five members of an international cybercrime gang have been arrested as a result of an investigation coordinated by the Europol.

A joint operation conducted by the Europol and the Asian law enforcement allowed to arrest five members of an international organised cybercrime gang focused on cyber attacks on ATMs, three of them have been convicted.

It has been estimated that the group caused to the banks around EUR 3 million losses.

One arrest has been made by the Romanian National Police, three arrests by the Taiwanese Criminal Investigation Bureau and one arrest by the Belarusian Central Office of the Investigative Committee.

The crime organization recruited members online, most of them were citizens of more than one country a strategic choice because allowed the gang to have support in different countries facilitating the travels of the components of the gang.

Crooks were launching spear-phishing attacks aiming to distribute a malware to compromise the internal networks of the banks and gain control over the network of ATMs.

Europol operation

According to the Europol official announcement, the modus operandi employed was very complex and involved:

  • spear-phishing emails with attachments containing malicious programmes,
  • penetration of the banks’ internal networks,
  • compromising and controlling the network of ATMs,
  • special computer programmes which deleted most of the traces of the criminal activity, etc.

Cyber criminals were also able to use the software to delete almost all traces of the criminal activity.

Members of the organised crime gang were recruited online, with most members being citizens of more than one country, something which helped them travel across the globe.

The Europol had a pivot role for the success of the international law enforcement operation.

“The majority of cybercrimes have an international dimension, taking into account the origins of suspects and places where crimes are committed. Only through a coordinated approach at the global level between law enforcement agencies can we successfully track down the criminal networks behind such large-scale frauds and bring them to justice,” says Steve Wilson, Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3).

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Europol, cybercrime)

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