Security Market Segment LS
Friday, 09 October 2009 08:10

FBI Phries Phishers

By
The culmination of the FBI’s Operation Phish Phry, commenced in 2007, has seen one hundred people in USA and Egypt charged with various financial crimes in the past 48 hours.

In the FBI’s release they state that “Operation Phish Phry marks the first joint cyber investigation between Egyptian law enforcement authorities and United States officials, which include the FBI, the United States Attorney’s Office, and the Electronic Crimes Task Force in Los Angeles. Phish Phry, with 53 defendants charged in United States District Court, also marks the largest cyber crime investigation to date in the United States.

“Operation Phish Phry commenced in 2007 when FBI agents, working with United States financial institutions, took proactive steps to identify and disrupt sophisticated criminal enterprises targeting the financial infrastructure in the United States. Intelligence developed during the initiative prompted the FBI and Egyptian authorities to agree to pursue a joint investigation into multiple subjects based in Egypt after investigators in both countries earlier this year uncovered an international conspiracy allegedly operating an elaborate scheme to steal identities through a method commonly called “phishing.” The group is accused of conspiring to target American-based financial institutions and victimize an unknown number of account holders by fraudulently using their personal financial information.

“The 51-count indictment accuses all of the defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. Various defendants are charged with bank fraud; aggravated identity theft; conspiracy to commit computer fraud, specifically unauthorized access to protected computers in connection with fraudulent bank transfers and domestic and international money laundering.”

This is great news for banks and their customers.  Not only has a specific piece of fraudulent activity been exposed and prosecuted, but many of the more general methods used by these people are now exposed to the general light of day, making the activities of other parallel schemes more difficult to continue.

Acting United States Attorney George S. Cardona added: “This international phishing ring had a significant impact on two banks and caused huge headaches for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of bank customers.  Organized, international criminal rings can only be confronted by an organized response by law enforcement across international borders, which we have seen in this case.”

Other media reports state that the two banks affected were Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo Co.


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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

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