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Italy Police Arrests an Organized Phishing Gang

Twenty-six people allegedly engaged in a global phishing operation named "Phish & Chip" are under the custody of Italian Police.

The gang under the arrest of 'Guardia di Finanza' (Military Financial Police) comprises of eighteen citizens of Italy and eight persons from Eastern Europe. The 'Phish & Chip' operation tried to crack a group attacking users of home banking facilities of Poste Italiane.

These arrests represent the international identity fraud gangs and how they are growing in an organized way, while many phishers, at large, still exist, said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, according to Theregister on July 16, 2007.

By allegedly mounting a spamming scam, the gang directed anticipated ranks for offshore websites that imitated the actual website of Italian Post Office. Victims were fooled into divulging their login credentials through fraudulent e-mails pretending as security warnings.

The Italian police said the 22-year old key hacker in the gang has admitted to dispatching e-mails posing to be from Poste Italiane. These phishing e-mails led recipients to a duplicate but unreal copy of the online banking website that offshore web servers hosted. As soon as the criminal seized the login information, he allegedly withdrew money from the victims' bank accounts and then transferred the amount to pre-paid credit cards that the gang members created.

The captured ringleader is pleading innocence insisting during police interrogation that he maintained good conduct and that he was a consultant on data processing helping Italian companies to fight credit card scams.

Authorities seized laptop computers, false documents, devices for data backup, mobile phones and stuff for creating credit cards at several places in Italy. They also confiscated a number of credit cards of the Banca Intesa. It appears that the gang used some of those cards on the day prior to their arrests on 15th July 2007.

Some hackers, in July 2007, attacked 10,000 odd websites hosted in Italy, injecting exploit code in the pages to expose compromised computers to user information theft. At this point, Police is not sure if any person from the arrested group was part of that attack.

Related article: Italy - Sixth Largest Country to Host Maximum Malware

» SPAMfighter News - 7/25/2007

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