Cybercrime activity. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

Hack Blotter: Cybercriminal Investigations, Arrests And Convictions For Q2 2018

Morag McGreevey

Sausalito, Calif. – Jul. 2, 2018

It was a busy quarter for law enforcement, with vigorous attempts to crack down on cybercrime. Russia and Eastern Europe remain the hotspots for this type of criminal activity. However, in Q2 2018 we also saw significant activity in Nigeria. Global law enforcement teams, including Interpol, the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce, and local authorities, have banded together to help catch these alleged criminals. Check out our rap sheet covering the latest cybercrimes.

RAP SHEET

June

Jun. 28. As part of a National Crime Agency crackdown, seven people across England were detained and questioned under the Computer Misuse Act.

Jun. 26. The Department of Justice has announced the arrest of eight persons across the United States and Africa for their roles in a widespread, Africa-based cyber conspiracy that allegedly defrauded U.S. companies and citizens of approximately $15 million since at least 2012.

Jun. 26. The criminal jury trial against Yevgeniy Nikulin, the Russian hacker accused of stealing data from LinkedIn and other U.S.-based tech firms, will begin in January.

Jun. 27. France has joined the United States and Russia in seeking the extradition of a Russian cybercrime suspect, Alexander Vinnik, who was arrested in northern Greece last summer. France seeks to put Vinnik on trial for alleged cybercrime, money laundering, membership in a criminal organization and extortion.

Jun. 18. Europol has taken major steps to disrupt the long-running global cybercrime group Rex Mundi with eight arrests in the past year. The international operation is supported by the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce.

Jun. 18. A regional Japanese information agency declared that authorities have apprehended sixteen people involved with a $175 million cryptojacking incident.

Jun. 15. A Canadian man accused by U.S. authorities of acting as a senior adviser to the jailed creator of the underground Silk Road website was extradited to the United States from Thailand.

Jun. 15. Computer security firm Kaspersky Lab halted all cybercrime collaboration with European agencies and organizations, after a European Parliament motion called its software “malicious.”

Jun. 13. British mobile phone and electricals retailer Dixons Carphone announced that it was the victim of cybercrime. So far, the investigation into the incident discovered there was an attempt to compromise 5.9 million cards.

Jun. 11. US law enforcement announced the arrests of 74 individuals accused of orchestrating business email compromise scams through which they stole millions from users across the world. Arrests took place in the U.S., Nigeria, Canada, Mauritius, and Poland.

Jun. 6. Russian authorities arrested the creator of the largest cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e, Alexander Vinnik, in absentia. According to Vinnik’s lawyer, Timofey Musatov, the case may become the basis for the repeated request of the Prosecutor General’s Office to extradite his client from Greece. Currently, Vinnik is in prison in Athens.

Jun. 7. Philippine police arrested nearly 500 people, including eight Israeli nationals, who they say were involved in an online investment fraud that victimized people overseas.

Jun. 1. Fifty Nigerians suspected to be engaged in cyber fraud and armed robberies have been apprehended in Ghana by personnel of the Police Intelligence Directorate.



May

May 31. A yet to be identified 27-year-old Nigerian is awaiting extradition by Poland to the United States over an estimated $7 million cybercrime.

May 29. The arrest of several leaders of the Cobalt cybergang, including its leader, has not stopped the group from launching additional attacks with the most recent being tracked late last week.

May 28. Russian threat intelligence firm Group-IB says the Cobalt Gang, which may have stolen as much as ($1.2 billion) from banks in 40 countries over the last two years, is back in business.

May 25. Grant West, a hacker who carried out attacks on a string of companies before selling customers’ data on the dark web, has been jailed for more than 10 years. He sent out phishing scams masquerading as Just Eat to get personal data.

May 24. The alleged BTC-e mastermind Alexander Vinnik has allegedly confessed to charges of fraud and money laundering between 2011-2017 through the BTC-e cryptocurrency exchange.

May 18. A French cybercrime gang leader wanted for hacking was caught in Surat Thani, Thailand. The search was a joint effort between the Crime Suppression Division police, forensic officials, French embassy officials and French police.

May 16. Latvian hacker Ruslan Bondars was convicted by a U.S. federal jury of violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and computer intrusion with intent to cause damage. The crimes are related to running “Scan4You,” a for-profit website that allowed criminals to test if malware could be detected by security software.

May 16. Dutch police have seized servers belonging to a bulletproof hosting provider known for harboring child pornography sites and command and control servers for DDoS botnets, cyber-espionage, malvertising, spam, and malware operations.

May 16. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law a sweeping cybercrimes act. The bill imposes stiff fines and jail terms for hacking, computer fraud, forgery of data, cyber-espionage, publishing child pornography or sending pornographic content via any electronic means.

May 10. An Akron, Ohio man was arrested and charged in federal court for launching denial of service attacks that shut down websites for the city of Akron and the Akron Police Department.

May 7. A pair of Romanian hackers has been extradited to the U.S. after allegedly stealing more than $18 million in an elaborate vishing/smishing scheme.

May 3. The Cyber Crime Circle of FIA arrested two people over the charges of running an illegal business of digital currency.

May 1. Bali Police arrested 103 Chinese nationals for alleged cyber fraud.

April

Apr. 26. Anonymous revenge-porn sharing site Anon-IB has been shut down indefinitely by the Dutch National Police. Dutch National Police arrested three men on cybercrime charges ranging from hacking to sharing stolen explicit images.

Apr. 25. The world’s largest cybercrime platform, Webstresser.org, was shut down following a major cybersecurity operation led by UK and Dutch police. The website was responsible for over four million attacks around the world.

Apr. 25. Croatian police arrested the 19-year old man suspected of being behind Webstresser.org.

Apr. 25. Two men from Lanarkshire were arrested in relation to the Webstresser.org takedown. The men were arrested in connection to offenses under the Computer Misuse Act.

Apr. 25. Security personnel in Kenya have arrested five suspected mobile phone money transfer fraudsters. The five are suspected to be behind theft of millions of shillings pretending to be employees of a leading mobile phone company and local banks.

Apr. 21. The Delhi Cyber Crime cell arrested Deepak Jangra and Deepak Malhotra. The two were arrested for fraud and accused of running a fraudulent bitcoin investment scheme.

Apr. 19. A Czech judge ruled to extradite alleged Russian hacker Yevgeny Nikulin. Nikulin claimed the FBI offered him immunity, cash, American citizenship and a free apartment if he would claim responsibility for cyberattacks that targeted the 2016 American presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

Apr. 19. Nidal al-Said, chairman of Egypt’s Communications and Information Technology Committee, announced that the committee approved a 45-article draft law submitted by the government to combat cybercrime.

Apr. 18. The trial of an Emirati human rights activist, who was arrested after falling foul of the country’s cybercrime laws, has started in the UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi.

Apr. 18. Chairmanship of the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce was handed over to Holland, after being held by the United Kingdom and Germany. The task force has also expanded to include Norway and Switzerland.

Apr. 17. Australia, the US and the UK have publicly blamed Russia for a “malicious” global cyberattack last year. The attack appeared to be an attempt at espionage, stealing intellectual property and laying the foundation for a future attack on infrastructure.

Apr. 17. Nigerian-born Microsoft network engineer Raymond Uadiale is facing FBI charges in Florida for helping launder cash obtained from victims of the Reventon ransomware.

Apr. 13. A lawyer for the alleged Ukrainian hacker Mikhail Rytikov says that he is talking with the U.S. Department of Justice about the possibility of a U.S. trial.

Apr. 11. Halifax police have arrested a suspect after the Nova Scotia government’s freedom-of-information disclosure web portal was breached. The government said that about 7,000 documents were inappropriately accessed between March 3 and March 5.

Apr. 6. Former HSBC IT worker Hervé Falciani, who stole data from thousands of private banking customers, has been arrested in Spain and faces extradition to Switzerland.

Apr. 4. A special investigation team of the Pune police cybercrime cell arrested eight persons involved in cheating several bitcoin investors in the city. The police believe that the accused were running an organized criminal multi-level marketing fraud.

Apr. 4. British cyber criminal Gabriele Pearson became one of the first people in Britain to have his Bitcoin stash seized by police. He was caught in an elaborate fraud involving his work IT system.

Apr. 4. The Cyber Crime Unit of the Ghana Police Service arrested suspected internet fraudsters arrested in Accra. The twelve suspects, all Nigerians, are in the custody of the New Weija District Police.

Apr. 2. Accused Russian hacker Yevgeniy Aleksandrovich Nikulin is facing American prosecutors after a lengthy extradition fight in the Czech Republic.

Apr. 2. The supposed leader of the hacking groups known as Carbanak and Cobalt has been arrested in Alicante, Spain. The malware attacks conducted by these cyber gangs generated more than one billion dollar profit for the criminals.

Apr. 1. Several cybercrime cases dismantled by Romanian police in cooperation with international law enforcement show that the Eastern European country is a geographical hub for cybercrime.

Stay tuned for the Q3 2018 edition of the Hack Blotter.

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Morag McGreevey is a freelance writer covering cybersecurity, national security, VC deals, and investing.



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