Largest Phishing Ring Busted by FBI


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10/08/2009



Largest Phishing Ring Busted by FBI

Kevin R. Smith
Co-Editor


Exciting news today in the fight against phishing: the FBI has charged over 100 people with that the Director is calling, "the largest international phishing case ever conducted."

There are some interesting details of this phishing ring bust including:

  1. U.S. Financial institutions were targeted
  2. Involved criminals in the U.S. and Egypt
      53 charged in the U.S.
      47 charged in Egypt
  3. Hundreds, possibly thousands of accounts were affected
  4. Approximately $1,500,000 stolen from affected accounts

Phishing is a particularly nasty crime because of the indiscriminate way it targets its victims and because the crime often goes unnoticed lengthy periods of time.

Imagine you get an email warning you that there's something wrong with your bank account or credit card. The email looks, sounds, and feels just like the real emails from your bank.

You click a link in it, and you're on your bank's website (or so you think...)

Sometimes, these phishing sites really do completely mimic the bank, so that the next thing you know this site, that looks so much like your bank to you has confirmed your details and is apologizing for the inconvenience and thanking you for your time.

Huh. That's it, and you go on with your day.

Just that fast, someone has your banking information and has transferred money out of it or purchased something on your credit card. Heck, maybe they even opened up a credit card or two in your name.

Whatever the case, when it comes to phishing there is good software today that, while not perfect, does help make the risk of being snagged by a phishing attack quite a bit lower.

The first place to start is with antivirus firewall software or an Internet security suite. There's no question that no software is completely foolproof; however, compared to the cost in time, money, and heartache of repairing your credit and getting your good name restored, the sticker price of even the priciest security software is really very, very low.

As for the cybercriminals in the U.S., they've been charged with:

  1. conspiracy to commit bank fraud
  2. computer fraud
  3. money laundering
  4. aggravated identity theft

Sounds like the FBI is throwing the book at 'em. And rightly so. According to the article, The bank fraud alone could lead to jail sentences of 20 years.

While that won't help restore the victims' good names or help them get their money back, at least the criminals are likely to be locked up for a long, long time.

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