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Australia’s Federal Police in conjunction with the Romanian National police broke up an organized-crime cybergang that had stolen credit card data from 30,000 Australians and used it for some $30 million worth of illegal transactions around the world.
Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald reported that sixteen gang members were arrested in Australia and another seven charged in Romania.
Authorities called it Australia’s biggest data theft ever with hackers getting access to one hundred small businesses, such as gas stations and groceries, where 500,000 people had their credit card data stored. Forty-six businesses were confirmed hacked and an additional 54 targeted.
Police allege victims’ personal identity information was used to make fake credit cards, which were subsequently used for transactions in the U.S., Europe, Hong Kong and Korea.
Gheorghe Ignat. Okay, you may not have heard of him, and admittedly, neither have we. However, this famed Greco-Roman wrestling champion was arrested, and charged by Romanian prosecutors with having a part in creating the fake credit cards. Wrestling. Fake. Hmmm. They do sound like they go together.
Anyway…. Romanian police said the gang had sold details of about 68,000 credit cards from around the world to other criminals. However, they didn’t specify whether these were part of the Australian breach.
Commander Glen McEwen, the Australian Federal Police’s manager for cybercrime operations, advised card holders to check their financial statements regularly for unusual transactions. “These arrests are also a timely reminder that all small businesses need to check they have the correct security measures in place, look to upgrade their systems and use strong passwords so they minimise the risk of data compromises.”
There is a silver lining in all this – at least for the people who had their personal information hacked. Australian banks and credit unions have reimbursed victims with the $30 million they were out.