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US Charges Nigerian, Others for Stealing $530m in Global Fraud

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The US Justice Department on Wednesday announced charges against 36 individuals as part of a takedown of a massive online cyber crime ring that trafficked in stolen personal and financial information.

 

The alleged co-conspirators participated in an international cyber crime ring called Infraud, which facilitated the sale of stolen identities, credit card data, financial information, Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information through an online discussion forum. The operation was also used to sell and purchase malware.

 

Officials said that 13 of the defendants have already been arrested, including five Americans.

 

Anthony Nnamdi Okeakpu, a Nigerian based in the UK who is alleged to have joined in December 2010 and have used the nickname “moneymafia”.

 

Other defendants include Svyatoslav Bondarenko, a Ukranian accused of having created Infraud in October 2010.

 

Five apprehended defendants were based in the US while others came from France, Canada, Pakistan, Russia Egypt, Italy and Macedonia among other countries

 

Officials estimate that the operation netted $530 million in illicit profits from financial institutions, consumers and other victims throughout the world over a seven-year period.

 

“We have victims in all 50 states and throughout the world,” Deputy Assistant Attorney General David Rybicki told reporters Wednesday. “It’s really a standout in terms of the amount of damage that it caused.”

 

Rybicki described the marketplace as “the one-stop shop for cyber criminals worldwide.”

 

According to the criminal indictment unsealed Wednesday, the Infraud organization was set up in October 2010 by a Ukrainian national. Through their investigation, officials identified over 10,000 individuals who traded and purchased personal information and other stolen data on the black market.

 

Officials made 13 arrests on Tuesday, which also included individuals from six other countries. Eighteen of the remaining defendants will need to be extradited to the United States in order to be apprehended.

 

The alleged criminals have been charged with racketeering and other crimes and face at least 20 years in prison each if found guilty. The online database enabled identity theft, wire fraud, bank fraud and other computer crimes.

 

The cyber crime ring takedown was the result of a joint operation between the U.S. attorney’s office in Nevada, the Justice Department’s criminal division and the Department of Homeland Security’s criminal investigations unit, with help from officials in several other countries. The case is being prosecuted by U.S. attorneys in Nevada.

 

“Today marks a significant step in the battle against transnational cyber crime,” Rybicki said.

 

The investigation into the cyber crime operation is still ongoing. Officials would not say whether the data trafficked on the forum has been linked to high-profile data breaches such as the hack of credit reporting firm Equifax disclosed last year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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E-Financial

Regulators Mull Clampdown on Accounts, GSM Phones Used for Fraud

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) may soon introduce a scheme that will enable banks and telecommunications companies to ban owners of any bank account or the Global System for Mobile Communications line traced to fraud.

 

The CBN, NCC is reportedly working with the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) following the spate of electronic fraud involving (USSD banking) telephone lines and Internet banking transfers.

 

When introduced, owners of any bank account or GSM line traced to any fraud case, especially electronic fraud, would be banned for life from operating any bank account or GSM in Nigeria.

The pervasive electronic banking fraud in the banking sector has left customers, banks and regulators waxing worriedly.

 

Some experts claimed that the most significant risks to banks are self-serving or criminal acts carried out by some insiders.

 

According to them, when these insiders use their technical knowledge to alter or disable security controls, it can be even more difficult to detect abuse.

 

But it becomes more dangerous when insiders conspire with criminals outside, showing that depositors money in the banks are not safe.

 

For instance, fraudsters now inundate banks’ customers with SMSes to authenticate accounts with banks.

 

The preciseness of the messages with accompanying data show they could only have gotten the details from insiders in the banks.

Elsewhere, cyber security experts have also  berated telecommunications operators over the prevalence of SIM swap fraud in the country, arguing that such fraud could be possible with an insider in the network operator of the subscriber that is targeted.

 

SIM swapping is a sophisticated form of fraud and falls under social engineering. Fraudsters will distribute phishing emails, trying to ascertain as much personal information from victims as possible.

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E-Financial

FCMB Promotes Entrepreneurship Among Youths

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First City Monument Bank, FCMB, has sponsored capacity building programme for almost 1,000 members of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC.

Tagged: ’Youth Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Programme’, it was in partnership with Activate Success Foundation.

Commenting on the initiative, Mr. Olu Akanmu, Executive Director, Retail Banking at FCMB,  said: “FCMB Flexx account empowers Nigerian youths with the entrepreneurial and employability skills they need. Many youths set up their own businesses from their campuses.

FCMB will be there with them to provide the necessary entrepreneurial and business skills they need to make great successes out of their businesses.

FCMB will also provide great support for the youth businesses and work with them to nurture and grow the youth entrepreneurial ventures.”

Also speaking, Founder Activate Success, Love Idoko said: ‘’I have a penchant for motivating people. There are business-minded youths out there that are just looking for mentorship or business ideas and funds to start their businesses.”

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E-Financial

Global Heists on ATM Machines Imminent- FBI

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America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned banks in Nigeria and others across the globe that criminals are gearing up to execute a global bank heist in the coming days.

 

In a recent confidential alert FBI told international banks that criminals are plotting a concerted global malware attack on cash machines in the next few days.

 

The FBI issued a warning about a highly choreographed fraud scheme known as an ATM “jackpotting”, or ATM cash-out,” in which crooks hack a bank or payment card processor and use cloned cards at cash machines around the world to take out millions in just a few minutes.

 

The alert said the agency had procured information indicating an attack was imminent and that it was likely an “unlimited operation,” which uses malware to exploit network access and get customers’ card information at a large scale.

Once the criminals get the card data, they create fraudulent copies using reusable magnetic strip cards (like gift cards) and hit the ATMs.

 

“Historic compromises have included small-to-medium size financial institutions, likely due to less robust implementation of cyber security controls, budgets, or third-party vendor vulnerabilities,” reads the confidential alert, which was sent to banks last Friday.

 

“The FBI expects the ubiquity of this activity to continue or possibly increase in the near future.”

 

The alert urges banks to review their security systems and use two-factor authentication with a physical or digital token.

 

Other tips include monitoring and limiting administrator and business accounts with the authority to modify typical fraud controls like maximum withdrawal amounts and number of daily ATM transactions.

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