Phishing gang dismantled by Europol after millions of losses

After a law enforcement investigation led by Europol, nine members of a phishing gang responsible for stealing millions of euros were arrested by Dutch investigators.

Police officers searched 24 homes in the Netherlands and recovered weapons, ammunition, jewellery, electronics, money, and cryptocurrencies. Europol helped the Belgian and Dutch police while they conducted the operation.

Europol reported on Tuesday:

A cross-border operation that sponsored by Europol involved both the Dutch Police and the Belgian Federal Police (Federale Politie) (Politie). An organised crime organisation that engaged in phishing, fraud, scams, and money laundering was eliminated as a consequence.

Technical Attack Details

The members of the gang engaged in massive email, SMS, and mobile messaging phishing efforts to obtain banking credentials. Malicious attackers stole several million euros using banking credentials obtained through large-scale email, SMS, and spear phishing attacks.

According to Europol:

The gang members sent messages included a phishing link that went to a fake banking website. They believed that this website allowed them to examine their own bank balances. The attacker tricked the victims into providing him with their bank details.

Investigators have also found evidence of some of the cybercriminals’ involvement in the trafficking of narcotics and weapons. Mules used their victims’ bank accounts to entirely deplete their contents in order to withdraw the money they had illegally obtained. Three of Europol’s experts went to the Netherlands to help with the investigations and provide forensics and technology expertise.

Additional Enforcement Activities

In an international operation that included law enforcement partners from Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, the U.S. Department of Justice removed the infrastructure of the sizable Russian botnet RSOCKS. The botnet compromised millions of computers and servers worldwide.

Europol also confirmed the dismantling of FluBot, one of the largest Android malware organisations in existence, earlier this month which was believed to gave been reactivated in March 2021.

The Nigerian Police Special Fraud Unit also uncovered a criminal syndicate on June 12, and police stated the arrests prevented cyberattacks on at least ten banks.

Phishing gang responsible for losses of several million euros busted. By sending emails and text messages with links to fake banking websites, the criminal organisation tricked victims into showing the data of their bank accounts.

– Europol June 21, 2022

On January 31, Diogo Santos Coelho, the administrator and founder of the hacker forum RaidForums was arrested in the UK thanks to Europol’s Operation TOURNIQUET.

The FBI and the US Department of Justice both took control of three domains at the same time. This was a part of an european investigation that also included the Federal Police of Belgium and the National Police Corps of the Netherlands. The websites allowed hackers access to victim networks to launch distributed denial-of-service attacks (DoS).

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