3rd October 2021, Kathmandu
Europol and the European Commission are collaborating with international security organizations to disrupt cybercriminals’ operations around the world. Europol recently eliminated 106 organized threat actors linked to a variety of cybercrimes, including SIM swapping, money laundering, and other types of online fraud.
According to the official statement, the Spanish National Police, the Italian National Police, Europol, and Eurojust uncovered an Italian Mafia crime ring that robbed hundreds of people through various online frauds. The group allegedly made an illicit profit of over €10 million ($11.70 million) by using phishing and business email compromise (BEC) assaults.
As a result of the worldwide operation,
- There have been 106 arrests in Spain and Italy.
- There were 16 house searches.
- A total of 118 bank accounts were compromised.
- Among the items seized are several electronic devices, 224 credit cards, SIM cards, and point-of-sale terminals, as well as a marihuana plantation and production and distribution equipment.
Organized Cybercriminal Group
According to Europol, the cybercriminal network is extensive and includes computer hackers, phishing domain creators, cybercrime affiliate recruiters, and cryptocurrency and money laundering professionals. Threat actors preyed largely on Italian citizens, duping them into sending significant quantities of money to criminal network-controlled bank accounts, which were then laundered through a vast network of money mules and shell corporations.
“This vast criminal enterprise was well-organized in a pyramid structure, with several specialized areas and positions. The majority of the accused members are Italian citizens, with others having ties to mafia organizations in Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain),” according to the press statement.
Not the First Time
This isn’t the first time Europol has brought down a global cybercriminal ring. Europol disrupted an organized cyber threat gang that robbed US banks for €12 million ($14.4 million) in a recent cross-border operation called Operation SECRETO. Europol coordinated the operation, which was commanded by the Spanish National Police (Polica Nacional), while the US Secret Service dismantled the fraud and money laundering organization.