Underground bank robber alliance assists cybercrime

Cyber-crime has a foreboding future, as a new online service allows nefarious criminals to hire coconspirators in several major U.S. cities to help create financial mayhem for banks and their patrons. The perpetrators can wreak havoc on finances by draining bank accounts, pocketing tax returns and stealing purchases based on fraud.

The service caters to cyber attackers who go after bank accounts of wealthy individuals and loaded business accounts. Although advertised solely on Russian-language forums, the service claims to have an interconnected society of crooks for hire in the highly populous states California, Florida, Illinois, and New York.

Unlike “money mules,” who are amateurs duped into laundering money when hired for phony work-at-home-and-get-rich-quick schemes, these are professional foreign agents. These agents are hired to get the job done and get the cash back to the head honcho. The ad, reading entirely in Russian, calls the agents “nerazvodni” or “not deceived.”

According to Krebs on Security, the advertisement presents that customers, or hirers, of the service get a unique login to a remote panel, granting them access to interact with the administrators and track the crime’s step-by-step progress. Other ads from popular similar services read, “Army of professional knowing mules in the USA awaiting your exact commands.”

As if the United States does not have enough of its own criminals to worry about, the stereotype of this new kind of cybercriminal is a student from Russia or Eastern Europe on a J1 visa, which gives them the ability to legally live and work here for a few months. In 2010, the Justice Department targeted a network of this sort in New York City and charged over three dozen J1s. The culprits were young foreigners who had aided cyber fraud for the benefit of mafiosos back home. Federal investigators have since speculated that there are J1 money mule recruitment networks in most metropolitan areas in America.

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