Five members of an international organised criminal group (OCG) have been arrested and three of them convicted so far as a result of a complex operation led by law enforcement agencies from Europe and Asia, with the active support of Europol's European Cybercrime Centre (EC3).
This organised crime group is responsible for carrying out highly-sophisticated attacks against banks’ ATMs which were made to dispense all the money deposited inside.
The modus operandi employed was very complex and involved:
- spear-phishing emails with attachments containing malicious programmes,
- penetration of the banks’ internal networks,
- compromising and controlling the network of ATMs,
- special computer programmes which deleted most of the traces of the criminal activity, etc.
One arrest has been made by the Romanian National Police, three arrests by the Taiwanese Criminal Investigation Bureau and one arrest by the Belarusian Central Office of the Investigative Committee.
In some cases, after the cashing-out, the stolen money was partially recovered from the criminals.
The investigation was initiated at the beginning of 2016.The members of the OCG were recruited online, most of them with multiple citizenships which allowed them to easily travel and commit crimes all over the world.
Losses caused to the banks are estimated at around EUR 3 million.
Europol's European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) assisted the investigation by providing analytical support, organising operational meetings in Europe and Asia as well as analysing the seized data/ equipment.
A key factor for the successful dismantling of this criminal organisation was close police cooperation on the global level and deep involvement of the Europol Liaison Office at Interpol I.G.C.I.
Steven WILSON, Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre, said: "The majority of cybercrimes have an international dimension, taking into account the origins of suspects and places where crimes are committed. Only through a coordinated approach at the global level between law enforcement agencies can we successfully track down the criminal networks behind such large-scale frauds and bring them to justice."