Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

International cooperation busts cyber-crime ring

In a pair of related cases, a total of 38 people with links to global organized crime—mostly working out of Romania and the U.S., but also operating in Pakistan, Portugal, and Canada—were indicted for engineering a decidedly 21st century cyber-based scheme. (From the FBI Website.)

By using the fairly routine online crime of “phishing“, the online scam also used a clever offline payoff, and ultimately swindling thousands of people and hundreds of financial institutions out of millions before being shut down.

  • Phraudsters working primarily out of Romania—known as the “suppliers”—went phishing and obtained thousands of credit and debit card accounts and related personal information by sending out masses of spam. 
  • These suppliers then sent their ill-gotten financial data to their partners in the U.S.—so-called “cashiers”—through Internet chat and e-mail messages.
  • By using some sophisticated but readily available software and technologies, the cashiers manufactured their own credit, debit, and gift cards encoded with the stolen information, giving them unfettered access to large amounts of money via ATMs and point-of-sale terminals. 
  • Before these cards were used, cashiers directed “runners” to test the cards by checking balances or withdrawing small amounts of money from ATMs. Then, these “cashable” cards were used on the most lucrative accounts. 
  • The cashiers wired a percentage of the illegal proceeds back to the suppliers. (More details of the method used, the people charged, the charges and possible sentences, can be read here.)
  • Folks– were you one of the “thousands” who responded? One phish message was made to appear as if it originated from Connecticut-based People’s Bank.  (In fact, the e-mail message directed victims to a computer in Minnesota that had been “hacked,” and used to host a counterfeit People’s Bank Internet site. {called “pharming“})  During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the individuals had engaged in similar phishing schemes against many other financial institutions and companies, including Citibank, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Comerica Bank, Wells Fargo & Co., eBay and PayPal.

    Tip of the day: I don’t care how “authentic” the e-mail, IM, or text message looks; don’t click the link!

    Today’s free link: This video quick tip on CNet TV shows you how to move your complete (including playlists and metadata) iTunes library to a new computer.

    Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix 

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    May 31, 2008 - Posted by | advice, computers, Internet, Internet scam, Phishing, phraud, security, spam and junk mail, tech | , , , , , , , , ,

    2 Comments »

    1. Hey Paul,

      It’s not encouraging that the statement can now be made that phishing is a “fairly routine online crime”. But as you have pointed out in your article, this is now a sad reality.

      Unless, and until, typical computer users become more security conscious and are equipped with proper security enhancement tools, this type of online crime will continue to increase.

      Thanks for this information.

      BM

      Like

      Comment by Bill Mullins | May 31, 2008 | Reply

    2. We can take some heart from the recent “comprehensive new strategy” (http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel08/ioc042308.htm) announced by DOJ that new, international efforts are being made to combat cyber-crime. (I, for one, would like to see this become a real priority.)

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | May 31, 2008 | Reply


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