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Russian phishers loot $500K in two-year hacking spree

Turkish banking customers target in long-running scam

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A pair of Russian hackers looted more than $500,000 from Turkish bank accounts during the course of a Trojan-powered two year hacking spree.

One of the unidentified perps is on remand following his arrest on fraud charges in June while the other remains at large, Russian Interior Ministry investigators told the RIA Novsoti wire service on Monday. The scam is thought to be one of the longest-running of its type anywhere in the world.

The hackers, thought to be from Togliatti, a city on River Volga, are reckoned to have purchased a dedicated server with remote access to a desktop hosted in a US data centre. Using a customised RATsystem (Remote Administration Trojan) application, the duo reportedly infected bank customers' PCs, allowing them to swipe the login credentials of online banking customers.

Middlemen (phishing mules) were then recruited to send the pair an estimated $508,000 via 265 money transfers between February 2005 and April 2007. These Turkish accomplices took a cut of money raided from compromised bank accounts, prior to transferring the remainder to Togliatti via Western Union. ®

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