Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

12/20/2007
06:43 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Alleged Phishing 'Mules' Arrested

Fourteen ABN AMRO customers were recruited by cybercriminals to launder stolen bank account funds

Dutch authorities have arrested 14 ABN AMRO customers who allegedly let cybercriminals use their bank accounts to hide and transfer stolen money from other customers of the bank.

The 12 men and two women were paid for their "services" by the Russian and Ukrainian cybercriminals, but reportedly did not actually steal the information themselves. They instead acted as "mules," storing and eventually transferring the stolen money overseas to Russia and other countries.

The masterminds behind the scheme set up phishing Websites to dupe other ABN AMRO customers into visiting bogus ABN AMRO Websites. They then grabbed the victims' authentication information, accessed their accounts, and stole money from them. Several of the phishing sites were hosted on the notorious Russian Business Network's servers, according to reports.

"The Dutch police have sent a strong message to cybercriminals of all kinds -- any participation in this kind of illegal activity won't be tolerated. While these 14 suspects may not have actually carried out the phishing attacks themselves, they played a key role in the crime by allowing the fraudsters to use their bank accounts," said Mark Harris, global director of SophosLabs. "However, in these situations it can be tricky to prove the deliberate involvement of the account holder as it's quite easy for them to claim they're simply the victim of identity theft. These arrests represent an important step in the right direction and should deter anyone trying to earn a quick buck from engaging in this type of activity."

ABN AMRO has had multiple security breaches this year: A former employee in its Citi ABN AMRO Mortgage group unknowingly leaked Social Security numbers and other personal data on over 5,000 of its customers via Limewire, a peer-to-peer file-sharing network this fall, and in the spring, four of its customers were hit by a man-in-the-middle exploit.

Sophos, meanwhile, says cybercriminals are increasingly recruiting "ordinary" people outside their organizations to assist them in moving their illegally obtained funds around the globe.

Randy Abrams, director of technical education for ESET, says this is likely the tip of the iceberg. "While there are undoubtedly many extremely gullible people who become mules without having a clue as to what they are doing, there are plenty of people who have to know that money this easy must be illegal -- and choose to participate anyway," Abrams says. "The reason the cybercriminals use this tactic is simple -- the smart criminals don't want to get caught and know what steps they need to take to insulate themselves. The mules are the idiots who are crazy enough to think they just won't get caught."

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.

  • Sophos plc
  • ESET

    Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. 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
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
    Dark Reading Staff 9/21/2020
    Cybersecurity Bounces Back, but Talent Still Absent
    Simone Petrella, Chief Executive Officer, CyberVista,  9/16/2020
    Meet the Computer Scientist Who Helped Push for Paper Ballots
    Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/16/2020
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Video
    Cartoon
    Current Issue
    Special Report: Computing's New Normal
    This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
    Flash Poll
    How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
    How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
    The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    CVE-2020-25514
    PUBLISHED: 2020-09-22
    Sourcecodester Simple Library Management System 1.0 is affected by Incorrect Access Control via the Login Panel, http://<site>/lms/admin.php.
    CVE-2020-25515
    PUBLISHED: 2020-09-22
    Sourcecodester Simple Library Management System 1.0 is affected by Insecure Permissions via Books > New Book , http://<site>/lms/index.php?page=books.
    CVE-2020-14022
    PUBLISHED: 2020-09-22
    Ozeki NG SMS Gateway 4.17.1 through 4.17.6 does not check the file type when bulk importing new contacts ("Import Contacts" functionality) from a file. It is possible to upload an executable or .bat file that can be executed with the help of a functionality (E.g. the "Application Star...
    CVE-2020-14023
    PUBLISHED: 2020-09-22
    Ozeki NG SMS Gateway through 4.17.6 allows SSRF via SMS WCF or RSS To SMS.
    CVE-2020-14024
    PUBLISHED: 2020-09-22
    Ozeki NG SMS Gateway through 4.17.6 has multiple authenticated stored and/or reflected XSS vulnerabilities via the (1) Receiver or Recipient field in the Mailbox feature, (2) OZFORM_GROUPNAME field in the Group configuration of addresses, (3) listname field in the Defining address lists configuratio...