Feeds

5 botnet kingpins busted in $70m fraud ring

Zeus's bad-hair week

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.