Publicado: Vie, May 17, 2019
Global | Por Milagro Delgado

US, European police claim busting cybercrime gang

US, European police claim busting cybercrime gang

Police in six countries have smashed a complex cybercrime network from Eastern Europe that used malware to steal $145 million from victims. Then the developer used coders to create GozNym, a hybrid of two malware strains called Gozi and Nymaim.

The stolen money was then laundered in the USA and other accounts. The other five hail from Russian Federation and remain fugitives due to the lack of extradition treaties.

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. "The chances that [law enforcement] will track down all the little service providers are pretty small".

Carter says there are enough people and businesses in the world not following basic cybersecurity practices that a criminal can use unsophisticated tools to make money by hitting many targets quickly.

Ten members of the criminal network were charged by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh with conspiracy to infect victims' computers with GozNym malware, using stolen login credentials and stealing money from victims' bank accounts.

Victims included a Washington law firm, a church in Texas, a furniture business in California, a casino in MS and a Pennsylvania asphalt and paving business.

The primary victims were U.S. businesses and their supporting financial institutions, including several victims in the Western District of Pennsylvania, U.S. officials said.

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The charges primarily revolve around bank, computer and wire frauds as well as money laundering.

Five Russians accused of being involved in the scheme reside in Russia as "fugitives from justice", according to the Department of Justice. The FBI has released a "wanted" poster with photos and more details about them. The Justice Department says it is working with authorities in Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova to build prosecutions against the defendants in those countries. 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 worldwide warrant from the United States, but escaped and fled back to Russia while on bail awaiting extradition.

US Attorney General Scott Brady, of the Western District of Pennsylvania, speaking last week about a series of cyber crimes arrests.

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. In Ukraine, law enforcement arrested Gennady Kapkanov, 36, for allegedly shooting an assault rifle through his apartment door during a police raid that targeted network servers.

The locations of alleged GozNym cybercrime group members.

"We found that GozNym was a highly structured, specialized organized crime network, and each defendant represented in the indictment had a specialized role to play and brought a unique skillset to the conspiracy", Scott Brady, the USA attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, said at a press conference Thursday.

United States attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Scott Brady stood alongside prosecutors and cyber-crime fighters from five other nations inside Europol's high security headquarters, to announce the takedown of what he described as a "global conspiracy".

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