Feeds

5 botnet kingpins busted in $70m fraud ring

Zeus's bad-hair week

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Ukrainian police on Thursday arrested five people suspected of orchestrating an international fraud ring that siphoned more than $70m out of bank accounts by infecting computers with the Zeus trojan.

The action by Ukraine's SBU was part of an unprecedented partnership among law enforcement agencies in the US, the UK, the Netherlands, and Ukraine, the FBI said in a press release issued on Friday. “Operation Trident Beach” first came to light on Tuesday with the arrest of 19 people in London in connection to Zeus-related offenses. On Thursday, 11 individuals were charged in Westminster Magistrates' Court, and in New York federal prosecutors announced similar charges against 37.

Most of those suspects were accused of being “money mules” who set up hundreds of bank accounts under fraudulent names to launder money transferred from accounts that were compromised by the crimeware.

The five people arrested in Ukraine, by contrast, are “key subjects responsible for this overarching scheme” the FBI said. In all, the ring attempted to steal $220m and succeeded in getting $70m.

Trident Beach began in May 2009, when FBI agents in Omaha, Nebraska learned of automated clearing house batch payments to 46 separate bank accounts throughout the US. Agents eventually brought in counterparts from the other involved countries. The payments are a hallmark of Zeus scams, in which hackers break into victim bank accounts and then clean them out using the bank's ACH transfer system.

The thieves targeted small- to medium-sized companies, municipalities, churches, and individuals.

It's been a bad week for criminals who rely on Zeus. On Monday, a researcher disclosed an Achilles' Heel in the crimeware that makes it relatively easy to take over command and control servers. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.