Feeds

Spooks scour gambling sites in terror finance probe

Money laundering with a poker face

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The security services are running 23 ongoing investigations into the exploitation of gambling websites to finance terrorism.

The revelation shows the online gaming industry is still vulnerable, and a prime target for criminals and terrorists, even after being at the centre of the conviction of the man described as the "godfather of cyber-terrorism for al-Qaida" and two of his associates back in 2007.

The three men convicted, for inciting people to commit murder through their extremist websites - Tariq al-Daour, Waseem Mughal and Younes Tsouli - used Windows-based Trojans to steal information such as credit card numbers, and then laundered them using the gambling sites. Between them they received sentences totalling 38 years (extended from an original 24 by the Court of Appeal).

The convictions were highly publicised, but what was revealed at the 'Combatting Cybercrime in Betting and Gaming 2010 Conference' in London last week was the scale of ongoing investigations into terrorism financing, and that al-Daour had been accessing 17 gaming sites while in Belmarsh prison.

It also came to light that on an unnamed credit card company's database, all three men came up as clients, along with 17 others whose date of birth, nationality and first name matched the convicted three. Together they still had 190 pre-paid credit cards still in circulation, with balances of £10,000 on each card.

Robert Mitchell, director of World Check, gave out the information while warning the audience that the current investigations involved transnational groups mainly across Denmark, Sweden, the Baltic regions, Vietnam and China.

“Those are the particular areas of risk,” he said. “This is huge business.”

World-Check is a private intelligence company which works with 49 of the world's top 50 banks and 200 enforcement and regulatory agencies, sharing its database of known 'heightened-risk individuals and businesses'.

Mitchell added that the FBI and SOCA (the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency) do “good” presentations on the three terrorists' work and money laundering operation. (Al -Daour was caught making a website in his cell at Belmarsh urging terror attacks. When he refused to hand over his laptop a riot ensued as prison officers clashed with a group of al-Qaeda sympathisers. He got an extra ten years inside.)

All told, investigators said al-Daour and his compatriots made more than $3.5m in fraudulent charges using credit card accounts stolen via online phishing scams and the distribution of Trojans. The group conducted 350 transactions at 43 different online gambling sites, using more than 130 compromised credit cards. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Big Content outs piracy hotbeds: São Paulo, Beijing ... TORONTO?
MPAA calls Canadians a bunch of bootlegging movie thieves
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.