The investigation was led by the Italian Polizia di Stato (Postal and Communications Police), the Spanish National Police, the Polish Police Central Bureau of Investigation, and supported by UK law enforcement bodies.
The operation resulted in the arrest of 49 suspected members of the criminal group, 58 properties were searched, and authorities seized laptops, hard disks, telephones, tablets, credit cards and cash, SIM cards, memory sticks, forged documents and bank account documents.
The group of cybercriminals had been active in Italy, Spain, Poland, UK, Belgium and Georgia.
The modus operandi used by this criminal group is the so-called man-in-the-middle and involved repeated computer intrusions against medium and large European companies through hacking (malware) and social engineering techniques.
The group gained access to companies’ corporate email accounts and monitored communications to detect payment requests.
The company’s customers were then requested by the cybercriminals to send their payments to bank accounts controlled by the criminal group. These payments were immediately cashed out through different means.
The suspects, mainly from Nigeria, Cameroon and Spain, transferred the illicit profits to outside the European Union through a sophisticated network of money laundering transactions.
Parallel investigations revealed international fraud totalling 6 million euros, accumulated within a very short time.
Source: Business Reporter