The Spanish police have now arrested a cybercrime gang made up of Ukrainian and Russian nationals who were allegedly involved in stealing more than $1.24 billion from financial institutions around the globe, then subsequently converting their illicit gains into Bitcoin (BTC), Associated Press reports March 27.
According to recent statements issued by the Spanish police and Europol, the leader of the gang, a Ukrainian named “Denis K.” and his three suspected accomplices of Ukrainian and Russian origin, have been identified and then arrested in the Spanish city of Alicante. Over a period of five years, the criminals have reportedly stolen more than one billion euros ($1.24 billion) from financial institutions across the globe.
They were allegedly engaged in cybercrime, which was targeting more than one hundred financial institutions and occasionally managing to get away with as much as ten million euros in each heist.
As alleged by the authorities, almost all Russian banks were affected and about fifty of them did lose money in the attacks.
The cybercrime gang gained access to internal banking networks by sending phishing emails with malicious attachments to banking officials. This malware then provided the alleged perpetrators with admin over the affected hardware, allowing them to compromise ATMs and then use the machines to withdraw unlimited sums.
Associated Press reports that the cyber criminals didn’t spend the ill-gotten gains but instead exchanged it into bitcoins. Once converted, the cryptocurrency was used for purchasing different assets, including real estate and cars in Spain.
In February Thai Police apprehended a Russian citizen, named Sergey Medvedev, said to be the number two person in an international cybercrime ring and administrator of the DarkNet site Infraud. The portal was used to sell stolen credit cards, identities as well as illegally obtained government documents.
At the time of arrest, Sergey Medvedev was in ownership of over one hundred thousand Bitcoins, roughly equivalent to $820 million at the time of writing.