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Russian cops cuff 8 in Carberp Trojan case

Alleged to be millionaire phishing gang

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Russian police have arrested a group of eight men suspected of making millions in electronic banking fraud using the Carberp Trojan and other strains of malware.

The men are suspected of being part of a Moscow-based gang that is targeting Russian nationals, and which has raked in 60m rubles (£1.3m) since October 2011. The scheme uses malware to steal login credentials for victims' online banking accounts. Funds from an estimated 90 compromised accounts have been transferred to accounts under the control of the gang, prior to the withdrawal of funds from various Moscow ATMs, according to a statement by the Russian Interior Ministry (Google translation here).

The arrested suspects include two unnamed brothers, aged 29 and 32, whom Russian cops believe to be the ringleaders of the gang.

The group's stock in trade involved planting malicious scripts on the websites of Russian newspaper and other popular sites. The scripts were used to run drive-by download attacks ultimately designed to create a credential stealing botnet.

The suspects rented an office from which they allegedly ran the scam under the guise of operating a legitimate computer firm. This office and the home of the suspects were raided by armed officers from the Russian Interior Ministry and FSB, the Russian security service. The police service said the raids had recovered computer equipment, a large number of bank cards, 7.5m rubles (£162,000) and a number of forged documents.

Suspects in the case have been charged with various offences under the Russian criminal code covering theft, computer hacking and malware distribution. The majority have been placed under house arrest pending trials, where they face charges punishable by up to 10 years behind bars if they are convicted.

Russia and the Ukraine, in particular, are seen from the outside as safe havens for cybercrime. It's tempting to think that the suspects in the case would have been far less likely to get caught if they had not targeted Russian citizens. ®

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