A large group involved in cybercrime and online fraud has been dismantled in Spain by the National Police last week. The authorities detained a total of 23 people all across the country, particularly in coastal regions of Catalonia, Valencia and Andalusia. According to the Spanish police, those detained were of seven different nationalities, including Spaniards, Italians, a Latvian, a Russian, a Ukrainian, a Panamanian and an Uruguayan citizen. The group used a Trojan to steal personal banking data from unsuspecting users in Spain and then to move the money outside the country to Eastern Europe.
In total it is believed the criminal gang stole more than 2 million Euros from online bank and online shop users. They used a keylogging Trojan called Anserin.C (Troj/Torpig-k, Trojan-PSW.Win32.Agent.bu) to steal login details and passwords. Funds would be siphoned off into intermediary accounts in Spain and then sent to Russia and the Ukraine via money transfer services by so-called money mules. Police in Spain have said their investigation has lasted since July this year, when members of the public began to lodge official complaints. It is believed the group may have stolen even more funds from users outside Spain via the same mechanism. Of the 23 people detained at least 19 are believed to have acted as money mules, and the rest used their technological expertise to carry out the actual thefts.
In the past year Spain has become a hotbed for cybercrime, particularly that involved with phishing and cyberfraud. Users in the country have been warned by the authorities to keep their private financial details safe, update their antivirus programs and be extremely vigilant when online. An additional warning has been made about fraudulent job offers that come in spam emails, and which are used as cover to recruit money mules for money laundering purposes.