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.

Threat Intelligence

Europol Operation Busts Payment Card Identity Theft Ring

Members of an international crime ring of payment card skimmers who stole more than $500,000 were arrested by a joint multi-national law enforcement operation.

A consortium of international law enforcement agencies arrested 31 members of an international crime ring suspected of stealing more than $500,000 from thousands of Europeans by skimming their data off of payment cards, Europol announced today.

The payment card ring is suspected of pilfering data from 3,000 European citizens and then cloning the information onto bogus payments cards that were used to make illegal purchases in a number of countries outside of Europe.

On average, the group skimmed 400 ATMs each year between 2014 until their arrest. Once they had the data and phony cards, they made illegal purchases at 200 ATMs, which were largely located in the US, according to Europol. The group also hit ATMs in the Dominican Republic, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Peru, the Philippines, and Costa Rica.

"If your card allows a foreign transaction, it's either approved or denied right away. After that, it goes through a process that can take a couple days and it's a way the bad guys can build in a buffer," says Morey Haber, vice president of technology at BeyondTrust, in explaining why this payment card ring opted to do all the transactions in countries outside of where the victims lived.

The investigation drew in law enforcement agencies from Europe, Spain, and Bulgaria, which included the Central Investigating Judge number 5, the Public Prosecution Office at the Audiencia Nacional and National Police of Spain, and the General Directorate Combating Organized Crime in Bulgaria, with the support of Eurojust and Europol's European Cybercrime Centre (EC3).

"This successful operation confirms Eurojust's commitment to protect the assets of EU citizens from falling into the hands of cyber fraudsters. An entire criminal network was taken down and, as a result, is no longer able to defraud innocent victims," said Francisco Jimenez-Villarejo, National Member for Spain at Eurojust, in a statement.

People who rarely travel overseas may want to consider asking their card companies to deny any foreign transactions, while companies that operate ATM machines may want to consider purchasing newer machines with safer ATM technology, advised Haber.

He noted that some ATM machines no longer require a user to swipe their card across a magnetic strip and instead allow the card to be laid down horizontally and read by the ATM machine. The new technology is more secure because it moves away from magnetic card strips, which the bad guys use to gleen data with their card skimmers.

Related Content:

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
US Turning Up the Heat on North Korea's Cyber Threat Operations
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  9/16/2019
MITRE Releases 2019 List of Top 25 Software Weaknesses
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  9/17/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: "He's too shy to invite me out face to face!"
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-16649
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-21
On Supermicro H11, H12, M11, X9, X10, and X11 products, a combination of encryption and authentication problems in the virtual media service allows capture of BMC credentials and data transferred over virtual media devices. Attackers can use captured credentials to connect virtual USB devices to the...
CVE-2019-16650
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-21
On Supermicro X10 and X11 products, a client's access privileges may be transferred to a different client that later has the same socket file descriptor number. In opportunistic circumstances, an attacker can simply connect to the virtual media service, and then connect virtual USB devices to the se...
CVE-2019-15138
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-20
The html-pdf package 2.2.0 for Node.js has an arbitrary file read vulnerability via an HTML file that uses XMLHttpRequest to access a file:/// URL.
CVE-2019-6145
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-20
Forcepoint VPN Client for Windows versions lower than 6.6.1 have an unquoted search path vulnerability. This enables local privilege escalation to SYSTEM user. By default, only local administrators can write executables to the vulnerable directories. Forcepoint thanks Peleg Hadar of SafeBreach Labs ...
CVE-2019-6649
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-20
F5 BIG-IP 15.0.0, 14.1.0-14.1.0.6, 14.0.0-14.0.0.5, 13.0.0-13.1.1.5, 12.1.0-12.1.4.1, 11.6.0-11.6.4, and 11.5.1-11.5.9 and Enterprise Manager 3.1.1 may expose sensitive information and allow the system configuration to be modified when using non-default ConfigSync settings.