A gang of Russian and Ukrainian criminals allegedly robbed multiple global financial establishments for USD 1,24 billion and then laundered the money converting it into Bitcoins. A very intricate plan which lead the group to avoid getting caught for a long time. Luckily, the Spanish Police managed to apprehend these cybercriminals, putting an end to their cybercrime.
As per reports, the Spanish Police have been working with the Europol – the European Union’s agency for law enforcement, to catch the criminals. The group was apprehended near a coastal city located 250 kilometers away from Madrid. The group leader, who goes by the alias “Denis K.” was caught along with all his Russian and Ukrainian accomplices.
The cybercriminals have been functioning for over five years now during which they targeted over a hundred financial institutions to build up their large pile of stolen funds. Security researchers found that all Russian banks were affected by the activities of this group and over fifty Russian banking institutions lost money in the digital burglary.
As per reports, the hackers used rather old-school techniques to hack the banks. For example, they would send phishing emails with hacking attachments to manipulate access to the internal structures of banking networks. These simple techniques allowed them to gain control of the ATMs and gain access to unlimited cash.
After the burglary, the criminals didn’t use the stolen money but laundered it by purchasing bitcoins. Then they used the digital currency to acquire assets in Spain which includes the likes of properties and vehicles.
The senior director at Cybereason – a digital security firm in Boston – Ross Rustici quoted, “nobody before them had strung all those things together on such a scale.” However, he also points out that their money laundering tendencies, ironically lead to their downfall. “[nobody can] buy a nice villa on the Mediterranean with cryptocurrency. Or at least not yet.”