Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dutch national police arrests front persons ABN AMRO virus attack

The High Tech Crime team of the Dutch national police has arrested 14 suspects, which have acted as front persons for a group of international cyber criminals. The front persons, twelve men and two women, used their bank accounts as conduits for fraudulent transactions from ABN AMRO clients.

In March of this year clients from the ABN AMRO bank received spam mail. Upon opening the spam mail, which looked much like ABN AMRO bank mail, the computers of the clients got infected, key logs were installed and fraudulent transactions were made. ABN AMRO informed the police of unlawful computer infringement and fraud.

In the criminal investigation it appeared that the front persons, also named money donkeys, had been recruited via spam mail. These front persons should process to the money transferred to their accounts by the victims to other front persons in Russia and Ukraine by money transfers. The Dutch front people were allowed to deduct five percent of the amounts received from the victims; an income of 2000 dollar a month was guaranteed in the spam mail.

The internet criminals made use of a series of IP addresses in use with the Russian Business Network (RBN), an internet provider in Saint Petersburg. Against the IP affidavits have been issued for involvement in child pornography, spam, fraud and other forms of cyber crime.

With false identities Dutch detectives of the High Tech Crime team have involved themselves as front persons for the cyber criminals. In one case, a detective got a transfer of 1000 euro from a Swiss bank account. The person was instructed to transfer the money to Russia in two instalments. When the money was not transferred no reaction was received.

The infected computers of ABN AMRO clients were rerouted during electronic banking to a website in Hong Kong which was a look alike of the official bank site. Thanks to the co-operation of the Hong Kong authorities data logs of the look alike sites were achieved for further investigation. Also a botherder in New Zealand was identified and arrested.

The main suspects of the criminal gang live in Russia and the Ukraine. Most likely they are computer specialists, who hide behind computer addresses which are hard to trace. They are known for several attacks on banks worldwide and are estimated to make million of euros annually. The results of the Dutch criminal investigation will be handed over to the Russian and Ukraine justice authorities.

Blog Posting Number: 956

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