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Europol Joint Investigation Puts 20 Cybercriminals in Police Custody

The Romanian National Police, the Italian National Police and Europol, all teamed up to hunt cyber criminals across Europe. Following years of investigation and raids, 20 cyber criminals were arrested for being in connection with a €1 million fraud.

The joint investigation resulted in the arrest of the Carbanak gang leader. The Carbanak gang was arrested days before the Romanian and Italian gangs were arrested. They were suspected of phishing banks, withdrawing money from the bank and the ATMs.

The arrested cyber criminals in connection with the €1m heist, fell to such a powerful trio of police forces in Europe with a considerable amount of service officers. The first raid led to nine being immediately detained. Europol arrested 76 people from 26 countries in 2017 for using stolen credit cards. This is an indication that Europol was more concerned with the sudden rise of fraud across the continent.

The arrested suspects used fake emails to impersonate the tax authorities to defraud people. The cyber criminals sent fake emails to their victims and convinced them to click on them. In this case, the victims were led to a fake website which looked legitimate. The victims entered their person details, giving everything their attackers requested.

The criminals transferred money illegally from the bank accounts of the victims to their own accounts created for this purpose.

Some used sophisticated software, likely purchased on the darknet to compromise other people’s important data. This led to ransoms over personal information.

Of all arrested groups crimes committed included “money laundering, drug and human trafficking, prostitution and participation in a criminal organization.” The suspects defrauded over 100 customers with all kinds of deception. According to Europol, the gangs operated in a more organized way using encrypted chat applications for communication. Arguably, these two major gang arrests were the most infamous arrests made in the local area.

The joint operation is meant to check and control the rate of cybercrime activities in Romania, Italy and all of Europe. It was reported that these types of operations will only continue, and follow the previous raid as a model for future operations.

Last year, Europol teamed up with the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance to strengthen the fight against cybercrime. The agreement involved the sharing of cybercrime trends and statistical data for a defined view of the case at hand. According to research, the cost of global cybercrime has been hundreds of billion every year.

Rob Wainwright, the executive director of Europol, concerning the recent rise of cybercrime especially in 2017 said that “The global impact of huge cybersecurity events such as the WannaCry ransomware epidemic has taken the threat from cybercrime to another level.”

He added that: “Banks and other major businesses are now targeted on a scale not seen before and while Europol and its partners in policing, the industry enjoys success in disrupting major criminal syndicates operating online, and the collective response is still not good enough. In particular people and companies everywhere must do more to better protect themselves.”

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