FBI takes down crime ring that stole $70 million with virus

By on October 3, 2010, 7:26 PM
Working with police and security agencies around the world, the FBI has cracked a major cyber-crime network, making tens of arrests in the US alone, as part of Operation Trident Breach. The cyber thieves targeted small and medium-sized companies, municipalities, churches, and individuals, infecting their computers using a version of the Zeus Botnet. The US Attorney General says those arrested in the US, who provided bank accounts for the criminals to deposit stolen money in, have been charged with conspiracy to commit bank-fraud and money laundering.

The suspected members worked as mules for fraudsters based in Eastern-Europe who stole around $70 million from companies and consumers in the US. The original goal was $220 million, but the criminals only managed to steal less than a third of that. They used the the malware's obtained usernames and passwords for bank account details.

The Operation Trident Breach investigation began in May 2009 when FBI agents noticed a string of suspicious bank transactions: automated clearing house batch payments were made to 46 separate bank accounts throughout the US. The large-scale organized cybercrime operation was active in several countries outside of the US, including the Netherlands, Ukraine, and the UK.

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