Global phishing scam rumbled, Aussies arrested

Four teenagers have been arrested for helping a global phishing gang steal millions of dollars from online bank accounts.

The four, aged between 16 and 17 and all from Australia, are alleged to have allowed their own bank accounts to be used as "mules" to which the phishers could transfer money after it had been stolen. The money was then handed over to the gang via banks accounts located in Russia, presumably minus a token commission.

Instead of tricking users into revealing password and username details via conventional social engineering, the gang is accused of using bogus adverts and emails to lure users to click on links which then installed a key logging Trojan on those systems.

This would have allowed the gang to record sign-on information when users visited legitimate banking sites. Accounts were emptied using the mule accounts as an apparently legitimate staging post, with victims unaware anything untoward was taking place.

The case will be closely studied by experts as it has a number of elements that demonstrate the rapid rate at which phishing is evolving in sophistication.

This technique is the new fashion in phishing and is much harder to defend against than traditional information theft scamming. Anyone using an infected PC can fall victim.

"In the last year phishing has been turned on its head," said security expert Graham Cluley of anti-virus firm Sophos, referring to the way scammers were now moving to Trojan-based attacks. "Every single day we see new Trojans designed to perform key-logging."

As one area of online security was tightened, phishers were likely to move to new forms of attack such as Trojans and, further in the future, "man-in-the-middle" session attacks, he said.

Criminals would always exploit take the path of least resistance when looking to exploit security weaknesses, and Trojans were now becoming the most reliable means of successful attack.

According to New South Wales police reports, nine members of the phishing gang have been arrested, with a significant number of other arrests being imminent, demonstrating the organized nature of the operation. One of those accused of being a gang ringleader has admitted charges and is due for sentencing on Jan. 12.

The official amount taken currently stands at $600,000, but a police spokesman was quoted as saying the true sum probably ran into the millions and might never be known.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John E. Dunn
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?