Virtual Event: Threat Detection and Incident Response Summit - Watch Sessions
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



130 Airline Fraud Suspects Detained in International Operation

A total of 130 individuals were detained and questioned by police as part of an international law enforcement operation targeting airline fraudsters.

A total of 130 individuals were detained and questioned by police as part of an international law enforcement operation targeting airline fraudsters.

According to Europol, the operation took place at 140 airports across 49 countries on June 16-17. The detained individuals had been in possession of plane tickets purchased using stolen credit card information, which in many cases had been obtained through online hack attacks.

Authorities said 101 of the suspects were detained in Europe, 11 in the Asia Pacific region, 10 in Latin America, and 8 in Canada and the United States. The suspects are believed to have been involved in various other crimes, including illegal immigration, human and drug trafficking, smuggling, fraud, terrorism, and cybercrime, Europol said.

The latest action, part of Operation Blue Amber, was supported by airlines, travel agencies, payment card companies, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and its Perseuss online fraud prevention community. The operation was coordinated by Europol, Interpol and Ameripol, and supported by US and Canadian law enforcement.

During the operation, representatives of the private sector identified a total of 222 suspicious transactions, which they reported to officers deployed at airports.

“This operation was the culmination of many months of meticulous planning between Europol, law enforcement, prosecuting and border control agencies, airlines and credit card companies, and is a perfect example of how our combined forces can track down the organised crime gangs involved in this large-scale fraud and other offences,” said Wil van Gemert, Deputy Director Operations at Europol. “Along with our partners, we are committed to continue developing new levels of cooperation and new methods for fighting this type of crime.”

Europol says the airline industry faces losses estimated at €1 billion ($1.1 billion) due to fraudulent online purchases.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

More than 500 suspects have been arrested so far as part of Operation Blue Amber, which targets organized crime groups and their infrastructures, Europol said on Monday.

Last week, the European law enforcement agency announced the results of an operation targeting a major cybercrime group based in Ukraine. Officers arrested five suspects believed to have developed, used and distributed the infamous banking Trojans known as Zeus and SpyEye.

The group is said to have infected the computers of tens of thousands of users with malware, causing damage estimated at more than €2 million ($2.2 million).

Related: 118 Online Airline Fraud Suspects Arrested in International Operation

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

Click to comment

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

SecurityWeek’s Threat Detection and Incident Response Summit brings together security practitioners from around the world to share war stories on breaches, APT attacks and threat intelligence.


Securityweek’s CISO Forum will address issues and challenges that are top of mind for today’s security leaders and what the future looks like as chief defenders of the enterprise.


Expert Insights

Related Content


Less than a week after announcing that it would suspended service indefinitely due to a conflict with an (at the time) unnamed security researcher...

Data Breaches

OpenAI has confirmed a ChatGPT data breach on the same day a security firm reported seeing the use of a component affected by an...

Risk Management

The supply chain threat is directly linked to attack surface management, but the supply chain must be known and understood before it can be...


The latest Chrome update brings patches for eight vulnerabilities, including seven reported by external researchers.


Patch Tuesday: Microsoft warns vulnerability (CVE-2023-23397) could lead to exploitation before an email is viewed in the Preview Pane.


Apple has released updates for macOS, iOS and Safari and they all include a WebKit patch for a zero-day vulnerability tracked as CVE-2023-23529.

IoT Security

A group of seven security researchers have discovered numerous vulnerabilities in vehicles from 16 car makers, including bugs that allowed them to control car...

Application Security

Drupal released updates that resolve four vulnerabilities in Drupal core and three plugins.