Security

Unlucky 13 collared by cops hunting cyber-crew who stole up to $2.2bn

Wait, this bank-card-stealing ring is called Infraud? Infraud? Not exactly subtle, people

By Thomas Claburn in San Francisco

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Thirteen out of 36 individuals indicted for their alleged involvement in a transnational cybercrime group know as Infraud have been arrested, the US Department of Justice announced on Wednesday.

The Infraud Organization, according to prosecutors, coordinated various flavors of internet fraud including identity theft, bank fraud, wire fraud, and related computer crimes through online forums.

It is, in other words, a carding group that peddles lists of stolen credit and debit card data – pilfered from servers, vendor databases, and payment terminal hardware – and serves as an educational resource for tricks of the trade.

The group, it is claimed, is responsible for somewhere between $530m and $2.2bn in losses, related to the compromise of 4.3 million credit cards, debit cards and bank accounts in all fifty US states and beyond America's borders.

"Operating under the slogan 'In Fraud We Trust,' members of the Infraud Organization used the online forum to purchase and sell stolen credit card numbers, financial information, social security numbers, passwords and other personally identifying information," said David Rybicki, deputy assistant attorney general, in a speech discussing the arrests in Washington, DC on Wednesday.

"They advertised services that facilitated these activities and related, illicit financial transactions; and they disseminated malware," he said.

The collaring of just over a third of the group's leadership involved agents from the US Department of Homeland Security working in junction with law enforcement agencies in Albania, Australia, France, Kosovo, Italy, Serbia, and the United Kingdom.

The Infraud Organization, we're told, includes almost 11,000 members, and was founded in 2010 by Svyatoslav Bondarkeno of Ukraine. Bondarkeno stopped using the Infraud forum in 2015, and it appears his whereabouts are unknown to US authorities.

"After Bondarenko went missing in 2015, [Sergey] Medvedev took his place as owner and administrator of the Infraud Organization," the indictment read. Medvedev is among those arrested, according to the justice department.

"The criminals involved in such schemes may think they can escape detection by hiding behind their computer screens here and overseas, but as this case shows, cyberspace is not a refuge from justice," said Derek N. Benner, Acting Executive Associate Director of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations group, in a statement. ®

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