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Cybercrime, Italy and Spain dismantle a huge group linked to the Mafia

Italy and Spain dismantle a huge cybercrime group linked to the Mafia. The operation, coordinated by Europol and Eurojust, led to 106 arrests. The suspects defrauded hundreds of victims through phishing attacks, SIM swapping and BEC

A huge cybercrime ring has been dismantled by Italian and Spanish police, coordinated by Europol and Eurojust. The group was linked to the Italian Mafia and involved in online fraud, money laundering, drug trafficking and property crime. According to Europol, the suspects defrauded hundreds of victims through phishing attacks and other types of online fraud such as SIM swapping and business email compromise (BEC) before laundering the money through a wide network of money mules and shell companies. Last year alone, the illegal profit is estimated at about € 10 million. The operation led to 106 arrests, mostly in Spain and some in Italy, 16 house searches, 118 bank accounts frozen and the seizures of many electronic devices, 224 credit cards, SIM cards and point-of-sale terminals, a marihuana plantation and equipment for its cultivation and distribution.

The cybercrime network was very well organised in a pyramid structure, which included different specialised areas and roles

The cybersecurity experts revealed that this large cybercrime network was very well organised in a pyramid structure, which included different specialised areas and roles. Among the members of the criminal group were computer experts, who created the phishing domains and carried out the cyber fraud; recruiters and organisers of the money muling; and money laundering experts, including experts in cryptocurrencies. Most of the suspected members are Italian nationals, some of whom have links to Mafia organisations. Located in Tenerife, the suspects tricked their victims, mainly Italian nationals, into sending large sums to bank accounts controlled by the criminal network. They then laundered the criminal proceeds through a wide network of money mules and shell companies. The investigation lasted over a year.

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