Global operation takes down cybercrime network

17 Mai, 2019, 17:02 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Global operation takes down cybercrime network

Law enforcement officials from the US and some European allies say they have broken up a criminal network that used banking malware to try to steal an estimated $100 million from over 41,000 victims in multiple countries. Then the developer used coders to create GozNym, a hybrid of two malware strains called Gozi and Nymaim. Once opened, the emails allowed hackers operating from Europe to record the keystrokes from victims' computers, steal banking log-in credentials and siphon money from accounts. They will be prosecuted in their own countries with the exception of five Russians who remain fugitives.

William Carter, deputy director of the Technology Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, tells NPR that cybercrime as a service industry is becoming more common - that people can pay for phishing, botnets and other services. "And the payoff can be pretty large". A number of USA businesses and their financial institutions fell victim to GozNym, especially in Western Pennsylvania, where federal investigators and prosecutors later conducted an operation.

A number of email spammers were then recruited to distribute phishing emails to potential victims in an attempt to place the GozNym malware on their computers.

The criminal network used GozNym malware to target businesses and financial institutions and capture online banking login credentials. The charges include conspiracy to commit computer fraud, conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Other organizations hit were a Pennsylvania asphalt and paving business, a Washington law firm, a casino in Gulport, Mississippi, and a California furniture business, according to the indictment. An 11th member was charged in a previous indictment.

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Five are from Russian Federation and remain on the lam, Brady said.

"It was truly the scope of this organization that made this campaign so risky", Mr. Brady said. One of those alleged mule managers - Farkhad Rauf Ogly Manokhim (a.k.a. "frusa") of Volograd, Russia was arrested in 2017 in Sri Lanka on an global warrant from the United States, but escaped and fled back to Russia while on bail awaiting extradition. Investigations were carried out in Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, with criminal prosecutions initiated in Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and the United States. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania issued a federal arrest warrant for them in April.

Instead of seeking the immediate extradition of all 10 defendants, which can take years of negotiations, prosecutors will first bring charges against several of them in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.

He allegedly fired an assault rifle through the door of his apartment at police, the Department of Justice said. Scott Brady, the USA attorney in Pittsburgh, called it "a paradigm change in how we prosecute cybercrime".

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