After a year-long investigation, police in Europe say they’ve arrested 106 folks in connection to a big cybercrime ring with shut ties to the Italian mafia.
The group, which cops say operated out of a headquarters in Spain’s Canary Islands, is alleged to have defrauded lots of of victims by finishing up a wide range of on-line schemes — together with phishing operations, business email compromise assaults, and SIM swapping. Felony operations allegedly encompassed a variety of actions, together with “on-line fraud, cash laundering, drug trafficking and property crime.”
Police mentioned they’d just lately raided 16 homes in Spain and Italy as a part of the investigation, seizing “many digital units.” Gadgets generally utilized in on-line fraud, reminiscent of SIM playing cards, 224 bank cards, and point-of-sale terminals, had been all confiscated.
The complete extent to which the mafia was concerned with the group just isn’t made completely clear in press releases, although Spanish police said that the criminals largely operated from a headquarters in “the south of #Tenerife [the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands] and laundered cash for Italian mafia clans,” including “Casamonica, Camorra napolitana, Nuvoletta and Sacra Corona Unita.”
“This huge prison community was very effectively organised in a pyramid construction, which included completely different specialised areas and roles,” said Europol, which offered technical assist for the investigation. “Among the many members of the prison group had been laptop specialists, who created the phishing domains and carried out the cyber fraud; recruiters and organisers of the cash muling; and cash laundering specialists, together with specialists in cryptocurrencies.”
Police declare most of the schemes concerned tricking victims into sending the hackers massive sums of cash — a reasonably good description of what a BEC attack seems to be like. After filching the funds, the criminals would then assist to launder the cash via “a large community of cash mules and shell firms,” Europol said. Authorities added that such operations generated as a lot as 10 million euros final 12 months.
The extent to which the mafia is concerned in cybercrime has lengthy been a subject of hypothesis and debate. Widespread knowledge has held that mafia teams are increasingly engrossed in on-line schemes, although the diploma to which they’ve penetrated such markets continues to be not significantly effectively understood.
Italy’s Anti-Mafia Directorate (DIA) just lately published a report through which it alleged that organised crime teams had been more and more turning to the darkish net, in addition to to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and monero, to obscure their illicit dealings. The report additional claimed that, very like different industries, covid-19 has pushed the mafia more and more on-line — as social distancing insurance policies proceed to hamper their real-world enterprise actions and provide chains.