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Italian and Romanian National Police have dismantled a cybercrime gang, in cooperation with Europol-Eurojust. 20 hackers arrested
Italian and Romanian National Police have dismantled a cybercrime gang. It after a two-year long cybercrime investigation, with the support of Europol, its Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT) and Eurojust. The operation has led to the arrest of 20 suspects in a series of coordinated raids on 28 March. 9 individuals in Romania and 11 in Italy remain in custody over a cyber banking fraud netted EUR 1 million from hundreds of customers of 2 major banking institutions. The Romanian authorities have conducted 3 house searches, while the Italian National Police ordered the execution of 10 home and computer searches, involving more than 100 Italian policemen. The organised crime group, comprised essentially of Italian nationals, used spear phishing emails impersonating tax authorities to harvest the online banking credentials of their victims.
The cyber criminals with spear-phishing email stole bank accounts credential, after used to transfer money in Romania. The group is suspected of other crimes
The Italian-Romanian investigation was initiated in 2016 and uncovered how the cyber criminals used the stolen online banking credentials to surreptitiously transfer money from the victims’ accounts into accounts under their control, and from there withdrew the money from ATMs in Romania with credit/debit cards linked to the criminal accounts. The highly organised cybercrime group pursued its criminal activity using encrypted chat applications. It established its power by applying intimidating and punitive methods towards affiliates and competitors. The cyber criminals are also suspected of money laundering, drug and human trafficking, prostitution and participation in a criminal organisation.
The operation has been possible, thanks to the cooperation with Europol-Eurojust
“During the investigation, Eurojust ensured close contacts and coordination among the prosecuting and investigating authorities in Italy and Romania. – an Europol press release reports – Europol supported the case by providing tailored intelligence analysis and expertise to the investigators and deploying mobile offices on the action day to both countries. Several coordination and operational meetings took place prior to the action at Eurojust and Europol. Due to the demanding investigative measures run on an international level, a joint investigation team (JIT) was set up between the cooperating countries with the assistance of Eurojust and Europol” to bring cyber criminals to justice.