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Two Carbanak Gang Members Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison

Two members of the notorious Carbanak cybergang were sentenced to 8 years in prison, Kazakhstani authorities announced this week.

Two members of the notorious Carbanak cybergang were sentenced to 8 years in prison, Kazakhstani authorities announced this week.

While they did not reveal the names of the sentenced individuals, the Kazakh authorities did say that they were accused of stealing roughly $4.7 million from two banks in the country between 2016 and 2017, as well as of attempting to steal $18.5 million more.

The stolen funds were transferred to 250 payment cards that were then distributed for cash out at ATMs across Europe, including in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, and Switzerland.

“The rest of the members of this criminal organization have been identified and are on the international wanted list,” a translation of the sentencing announcement reads.

Tracked as Carbanak, Anunak and Cobalt, the gang evolved its malware and moved to more sophisticated attacks around 2016, employing a custom version of the Cobalt Strike pen testing tool.

[ READ: Historical Breadcrumbs Link Magecart 5 to Carbanak Group ]

Employing spear-phishing emails, the threat actors targeted bank employees with their malware, which provided them with access to a victim institution’s network, including the servers that controlled automated teller machines (ATMs).

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Using this unauthorized access, the attackers would instruct ATMs to dispense cash at specific times, when money mules were present to collect the money. The hackers also transferred funds to bank accounts they controlled, and even modified account balances so they could withdraw large amounts of cash.

Working with the Russian and Moldovan mafia, the hackers often laundered the proceeds using Bitcoins. More than100 financial organizations in 40 countries were targeted, with total losses estimated to exceed €1 billion ($1.24 billion).

The mastermind behind the operation, a Ukrainian national referred to as “Denis K,” was arrested in Spain in 2018. Other members of the gang were reportedly Russian and Ukrainian nationals.

Related: Carbanak Source Code Discovered on VirusTotal

Related: “Cobalt” Hackers Use Google App Engine in Recent Attacks

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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