Attacks/Breaches
10/8/2009
12:20 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

'Operation Phish Phry' Nets 100 Suspects In Major Bank-Fraud Ring

Bust represents largest number of defendants ever charged in a U.S. cybercrime case, FBI says

The FBI yesterday announced indictments of 100 suspects spanning the U.S. and Turkey who allegedly operated a phishing scheme that stole personal information and money from U.S. bank accounts of thousands of victims.

U.S. authorities in California, Nevada, and North Carolina so far have arrested 33 of 53 defendants named in an indictment by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles. Egyptian authorities have charged 47 people in the scheme in the first-ever joint cybercrime investigation between Egyptian and U.S. authorities. FBI officials say the charges in the U.S. represent the largest cybercrime investigation to date.

"The sophistication with which Phish Phry defendants operated represents an evolving and troubling paradigm in the way identity theft is now committed," said Keith Bolcar, acting assistant director in charge of the FBI in Los Angeles. "Criminally savvy groups recruit here and abroad to pool tactics and skills necessary to commit organized theft facilitated by the computer, including hacking, fraud, and identity theft, with a common greed and shared willingness to victimize Americans."

The indictment says the Egyptian-based attackers phished bank account numbers and related personal information from an unknown number of bank customers and then hacked into accounts at two banks -- the names of which were not disclosed publicly.

The Egyptian defendants allegedly then worked with their co-conspirators in the U.S., who transferred the funds from victims' accounts to fraudulent accounts set up for the ring. U.S. defendants Kenneth Joseph Lucas, Nichole Michelle Merzi, and Jonathan Preston Clark, all of California, ordered associates to recruit "runners" to set up the accounts. Some of the stolen money was transferred via wire services to their Egyptian counterparts.

The indictment accuses all of the alleged phishing ring members with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, which could carry a sentence of 20 years in federal prison. Some were also charged with bank fraud; aggravated identity theft; conspiracy to commit computer fraud, specifically unauthorized access to protected computers in connection with fraudulent bank transfers; and domestic and international money laundering.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-2184
Published: 2015-03-27
Movable Type before 5.2.6 does not properly use the Storable::thaw function, which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via the comment_state parameter.

CVE-2014-3619
Published: 2015-03-27
The __socket_proto_state_machine function in GlusterFS 3.5 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (infinite loop) via a "00000000" fragment header.

CVE-2014-8121
Published: 2015-03-27
DB_LOOKUP in nss_files/files-XXX.c in the Name Service Switch (NSS) in GNU C Library (aka glibc or libc6) 2.21 and earlier does not properly check if a file is open, which allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (infinite loop) by performing a look-up while the database is iterated over...

CVE-2014-9712
Published: 2015-03-27
Websense TRITON V-Series appliances before 7.8.3 Hotfix 03 and 7.8.4 before Hotfix 01 allows remote administrators to read arbitrary files and obtain passwords via a crafted path.

CVE-2015-0658
Published: 2015-03-27
The DHCP implementation in the PowerOn Auto Provisioning (POAP) feature in Cisco NX-OS does not properly restrict the initialization process, which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary commands as root by sending crafted response packets on the local network, aka Bug ID CSCur14589.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Good hackers--aka security researchers--are worried about the possible legal and professional ramifications of President Obama's new proposed crackdown on cyber criminals.