Entries in Cyber-Crime (3)


Russian Cyber Criminals Rake in Billions

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- They say crime doesn’t pay, but for Russian-speaking cyber criminals it has paid very, very well.

According to a new report, they raked in over $4 billion in 2011 -- nearly a third of the $12.5 billion global cyber crime market.  About half of that took place in Russia itself, nearly double the previous year’s total.

The report, released Tuesday by the Russian cybercrime investigation company Group-IB, found that cybercrime in Russia and in neighboring countries is also getting more sophisticated as traditional mafia rings have begun operating in the digital world.

Previously, the company noted, the market was comprised of individual hackers, but they have now consolidated their efforts and traditional organized crime groups are clamoring for a piece of the action.

The most lucrative form of Russian cyber crime last year was online fraud, which brought in nearly a billion dollars, followed by spam, which topped $830 million.

The Group-IB report blamed lax Russian laws for the expansion of cyber crime.  While the Russian government has tried to tighten legislation aimed at preventing and punishing such activity, the company said more was needed.

“The cyber crime market originating from Russia costs the global economy billions of dollars every year,” Ilya Sachkov, Group-IB’s CEO, said in a statement on the company’s website.  “Although the Russian government has taken some very positive steps, we think it needs to go further by changing existing law enforcement practices, establishing proper international cooperation and ultimately improving the number of solved computer crimes.”´╗┐

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Two Arrested in $74 Million Fraud for Fake Anti-Virus Software

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Two Latvian citizens have been arrested overseas for their operation of malicious computer programs which cost computer users over $74 million in losses by selling fake anti-virus software for computers. An estimated 960,000 people were victims in the scam, which is known as “Scareware.”
Scareware is a fake security alert on a users computer which says, for example, “Warning!  There is a virus on your computer…Remove now,” and asks to initiate a system scan and clean-up to counter the potential virus or malware. In reality, once users click “Remove now” they unknowingly have exposed themselves to malware and keylogger programs which are then used to harvest private and financial data from computer users. Some of these programs ask computer users to purchase the software for clean-up or anti-virus software which further exposes their credit card data when they believe they are buying the bogus software.
The two operators of this scareware scheme have been charged with two counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of computer fraud.  The defendants, Peteris Sahurovs, 22, and Marina Maslobojeva, 23, were arrested Tuesday in Rezekne, Latvia. It is unclear how long the extradition process may take.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


FBI Warns Small Businesses of Unauthorized Wire Transfers to China

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The FBI issued a fraud warning Tuesday alerting small- and medium-sized businesses about a series of unauthorized wire transfers going to China which have resulted in $11 million being taken from about 20 U.S. companies. According to the FBI, the cyber-criminals have attempted to steal $20 million but $9 million in transfers have not gone through. The FBI alert issued Tuesday notes that the wire transfers have been between $50,000 and $985,000 going to trade companies along the China-Russia border.
“The intended recipients of the international wire transfers are economic and trade companies located in the Heilongjiang province in the People’s Republic of China....The economic and trade companies appear to be registered as legitimate businesses and typically hold bank accounts with the Agricultural Bank of China, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the Bank of China,” the fraud alert noted.
The FBI cautioned that once the money is in the bank accounts of these companies it is immediately withdrawn. The warning was issued by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center.  The warning notes that the computers of individuals who are authorized to make wire and money transfers are compromised by malware and spoofed emails known as “phishing” attacks. which allow the computer thieves to obtain username and password information.
The FBI also believes the accounts may have been compromised by a Botnet attack which is composed of armies of so-called "zombie" computers, often ordinary people's machines, that have been hijacked by hackers and ordered to vacuum up private information from bank accounts, credit card data and email services. Earlier this month the FBI and Justice Department disabled a Botnet known as “Coreflood” which infected more than two million computers with malicious code. 
“At this time, it is unknown who is behind these unauthorized transfers, if the Chinese accounts were the final transfer destination or if the funds were transferred elsewhere, or why the legitimate companies received the unauthorized funds,” the warning stated.
According to U.S. cyber-security officials, small- and medium-sized businesses have been targeted by hackers since they may not have robust computer security and IT systems in place that large corporations have.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio