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
     

    Recommended Reading:

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
    Dark Reading Staff 8/14/2020
    Lock-Pickers Face an Uncertain Future Online
    Seth Rosenblatt, Contributing Writer,  8/10/2020
    Hacking It as a CISO: Advice for Security Leadership
    Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  8/10/2020
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Video
    Cartoon
    Current Issue
    7 New Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities That Could Put Your Enterprise at Risk
    In this Dark Reading Tech Digest, we look at the ways security researchers and ethical hackers find critical vulnerabilities and offer insights into how you can fix them before attackers can exploit them.
    Flash Poll
    The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
    The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
    This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    CVE-2020-17475
    PUBLISHED: 2020-08-14
    Lack of authentication in the network relays used in MEGVII Koala 2.9.1-c3s allows attackers to grant physical access to anyone by sending packet data to UDP port 5000.
    CVE-2020-0255
    PUBLISHED: 2020-08-14
    ** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: CVE-2020-10751. Reason: This candidate is a duplicate of CVE-2020-10751. Notes: All CVE users should reference CVE-2020-10751 instead of this candidate. All references and descriptions in this candidate have been removed to prevent accidenta...
    CVE-2020-14353
    PUBLISHED: 2020-08-14
    ** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: CVE-2017-18270. Reason: This candidate is a duplicate of CVE-2017-18270. Notes: All CVE users should reference CVE-2017-18270 instead of this candidate. All references and descriptions in this candidate have been removed to prevent accidenta...
    CVE-2020-17464
    PUBLISHED: 2020-08-14
    ** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: none. Reason: This candidate was withdrawn by its CNA. Further investigation showed that it was not a security issue. Notes: none.
    CVE-2020-17473
    PUBLISHED: 2020-08-14
    Lack of mutual authentication in ZKTeco FaceDepot 7B 1.0.213 and ZKBiosecurity Server 1.0.0_20190723 allows an attacker to obtain a long-lasting token by impersonating the server.