Home Security Russian nabbed for stealing bank funds by using trojan

Russian authorities have arrested a 32-year-old man who is accused of being the leader of a group that was stealing funds from Russian banks by using a trojan that runs on the Android mobile operating system.

The security firm Group-IB said the victims had been relieved of the equivalent of between US$1500 and US$8000 daily and the funds had been converted into cryptocurrencies for laundering.

The group tricked Russian bank customers into downloading malicious mobile apps, with one called "banks at your fingertips" claiming to be an aggregator of all the country's leading banking systems.

It promised users "one-click" access to all bank cards to view balances, transfer money from card to card and pay for online purchases. The app, first seen in 2016, was distributed through spam.

Group-IB said the method of theft was elementary. Once a user had downloaded the fake mobile app and entered card details, the trojan within would transmit the details or online banking credentials to the command-and-control server.

After this, the money from the victim's account would be transferred out in small amounts, like US$200 to US$500, to accounts that had been set up for this precise purpose. SMS confirmation codes were intercepted from the victim's phone and any SMS confirmations of transactions were blocked.

One member of the group, an unemployed Russian man, who had previous convictions for arms trafficking, was identified and SIM cards and fraudulent bank cards were found in his possession.

Group-IB said the investigation was continuing.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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