Ukrainian cyberpolice have arrested members of a phishing group that managed to steal credit card data from at least 70,000 people after directing them to fraudulent mobile service sites.
The threat actors used the stolen information to empty funds from their victims’ bank accounts, according to the announcement on Tuesday from law enforcement.
Five individuals have been arrested for running this phishing operation that relied on marketing and advertising services to increase visibility on search engines and social media platforms.
This was made possible due to internet platforms not having a thorough vetting process for their clients and the promoted products, allowing the cybercriminals to abuse it. Users also tend to trust these types of advertisements.
The phishing operation was supported by 40 fake websites that were all hosted using the group’s own infrastructure. The servers, on the other hand, were managed by another member.
Additionally, the leader of the group assigned three people to act as internal money movers for the money laundering procedure following the attack. The police estimated financial damages totaling 5 million hryvnias ($175,000).
Ukrainian law enforcement officers raided the residences of the five suspects and seized 2 million hryvnias ($70,000) in cash, mobile phones, flash drives, bank cards, and computers.
The arrested individuals now face criminal charges and up to eight years in prison.
This news comes shortly after a powerful Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack hit the websites of Ukraine’s defense ministry, public radio, and armed forces, along with national banks Privatbank and Oschadbank on Feb. 18.