Yesterday, an international organised cybercrime network, composed mostly of Romanian citizens, was successfully taken down in Romania1 and France2 with the support of the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at Europol.
The cybercrime network is suspected of sophisticated electronic payment crimes including intrusions into international non-cash payment systems (through malware attacks), illegal worldwide financial transactions and money transfers, card data compromising (via skimming attacks), money laundering and drug trafficking. Members of this criminal network were using malware – RAT (Remote Access Tool) with key logger functionality - to take over and gain access to computers used by money transfer services all over Europe (Austria, Belgium, Germany, Norway, UK).
More than 115 individuals were interrogated and 65 detained in coordinated raids by Romanian and French law enforcement and judicial authorities, supported on the spot by the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3). Large sums of money, luxury vehicles, IT equipment and variety of evidence were seized during the raids. Around 450 police officers were deployed to execute 117 house search warrants during the operation.
Losses incurred by the criminals' activities are estimated to be at least two million euros. The proceeds of their crimes were invested in different types of property, deposited in bank accounts or transferred electronically to hide their illicit origin.
The Head of the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), Troels Oerting, said: "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. 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 endeavours to make payment transactions safer for customers throughout Europe and beyond."
Operations such as this one demonstrate the crucial role of exchanging intelligence through Europol channels and the importance of international coordination at different operational stages including the final execution at European level. EC3 organised several operational meetings at Europol headquarters in The Hague, provided analysis, and simultaneously deployed mobile offices and technical support on the spot in the cooperating countries.
1 Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) from Craiova city; Romanian National Police, including the Brigade for Combating Organized Crime from Craiova city, the Service of Intelligence & Internal Protection from Craiova and the National Intelligence Service
2 Judicial French Police (BFMP DPJ) – Brigade of Combating Payment Fraud in Paris
For more information, please contact:
Ms Lisanne Kosters
Tel: +31 70 302 5001