Feeds

Drug gang hacks into Belgian seaport, cops seize TONNE of smack

9 nabbed after shipping container system used to transport heroin, cocaine

Boost IT visibility and business value

Police in the Netherlands and Belgium have seized a tonne of cocaine, a tonne of heroin and a suitcase stuffed with €1.3m after uncovering a massive drug smuggling operation that used hackers to break into the systems of shipping companies.

According to the Netherlands public prosecutor (statement here in Dutch), a Netherlands-based drug ring hired hackers to manipulate systems in the major port of Antwerp in their neighbouring country, Belgium, in order to arrange pick-ups.

The hackers obtained access at two container terminals by using spear phishing and malware attacks directed at port authority workers and shipping companies, before changing the location and the delivery times of containers that had the drugs in them, according to the public prosecutor.

Subsequently, the smugglers sent their own drivers to pick up drug-loaded shipping containers before the legitimate haulier could collect them.

The whole scheme, eerily similar to the set-up of the plot of season 2 of The Wire, was uncovered by police after shipping firms detected something was amiss. Police set up a bust that resulted in the seizure of about one tonne of heroin and the same amount of cocaine, Expatica.com reports.

The drug-smuggling operation extended to other ports in the region, including Rotterdam: "At the end of May, police seized 250kg of cocaine in a container of bananas leaving Antwerp for Holland [the Netherlands], after discovering 114kg of the same drug in April, concealed in a cargo of wood from Chile which was landed in the Dutch port of Rotterdam," Expatica adds.

Nine people were arrested: seven in the Netherlands and two in Belgium. Police have issued international arrest warrants for another two other suspected hackers.

Cops also seized firearms, bulletproof vests and large sums of money, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reports. (Dutch-language link, English translation via Google available here). ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
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.
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.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.