An international cybercrime operation that targeted money transfer services throughout Europe was taken down this week in a joint operation involving law enforcement agencies in Europe.
According to authorities at Europol, the cybercrime network was comprised mostly of Romanian citizens. The law enforcement operation resulted in the detention of 65 people in coordinated raids by Romanian and French police and judicial authorities. All together, more than 115 individuals were interrogated in the operation, which was supported by the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at Europol.
According to Europol, the cyber-gang is suspected of hacking into international non-cash payment systems and making illegal financial transactions. The crime ring used malware with keylogging functionality to achieve its ends, taking over and gaining access to computers used by money transfer services all over Europe – particularly Austria, Belgium, Germany, Norway and the U.K. The ring is also believed to be involved in skimming attacks, money laundering and drug trafficking, authorities alleged.
Losses from the criminals’ activities are believed to total at least two million Euros.
“As a direct result of the excellent cooperation and outstanding work by police officers and prosecutors from Romania, France and other European countries, a key criminal network has been successfully taken down this week,” The Head of the European Cybercrime Centre, Troels Oerting, said in a statement. “EC3’s role was to effectively facilitate international cooperation, including the exchange of intelligence, and to provide resources where needed. After many months and a great effort from all involved, many individuals have now been detained after key locations were identified and targeted by law enforcement.”
“The resounding success of such an operation is not the first and will not be the last, as police officers and prosecutors, alongside EC3, continue in their tireless endeavors to make payment transactions safer for customers throughout Europe and beyond,” he added.
Recently, law enforcement agencies and cyber-security companies partnered to go after users of Shylock, a widely used piece of malware popular among cybercriminals targeting banking credentials. As a result of the operation, several components of the Shylock command and control infrastructure were identified and taken down.