Crime gangs have been targeting bank ATMs for quite some time, and even made quite a few successful attacks throughout the years. Five members of an international crime group have been apprehended by Europol and its partners. Three suspects have already been convicted as well, which indicates this case is backed by some solid evidence. The crime gang has a record of attacks against ATMs across Asia and Europe.
One Less Bank ATM Crime Gang To Worry About
The press release issued by Europol paints an interesting story as to how these arrests came to be. A complex operation by law enforcement agencies located in Europe and Asia eventually resulted in the arrest of five criminals. This particular band of criminals is deemed to be responsible for various attacks against bank ATMs spanning both continents. Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre played a big role in this investigation.
It has to be said, the crime gang used very sophisticated methods to carry out their malicious bank ATM activities. First of all, they used spear phishing emails with malicious attachments, which would then give backdoor access to computer systems. In every single campaign, they deliberately targeted financial institution staffers, in the hopes of someone opening the attachment. Unfortunately, some of those attempts have been successful.
Once the crime gang gained access to the bank’s internal network, they moved on to compromise and control the entire network of ATMs. Through special computer software, they were able to hide most of their activities, leaving security teams none the wiser as to what happened. Thankfully, law enforcement agencies were able to recover pieces of data, which eventually lead to the arrest of those five individuals.
Of the five arrested suspects, three were apprehended by the Taiwanese Criminal Investigation Bureau. The other two were brought into custody in Romania and Belarus. An undisclosed number of these suspects had evidence of their criminal creativity in their possession at the time of the arrests. Since the crime gang specialized in cashing out bank ATM funds, they had to keep the money somewhere. It is believed all of their crimes combine for up to EUR 3m in losses.
EC3’s Steve Wilson commented on the situation as follows:
“The majority of cyber crimes 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.”
It is worth noting all of the members of this crime gang were recruited online. Nearly every single one of them had multiple citizenships, allowing them to travel from country to country without problems. Unfortunately, this also made it much easier for these individuals to commit fraud all over the world. Albeit three of the arrested individuals have been convicted already, Europol did not provide specific details as to what type of punishment was handed down.
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