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Falls in Spain the head of the ciberatracadores who ripped 1 billion to the bank

Police stop in Alicante the Russian-Ukrainian ringleader of a group that infiltrated since 2014 in the computer systems of foreign entities

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Falls in Spain the head of the ciberatracadores who ripped 1 billion to the bank

The detainee, resident in Alicante since October 2014, led a band that developed computer viruses destined to infect computer systems of banks. According to Chief Commissioner of Technological Research Unit (ITU), Rafael Pérez, group led by Denis K. — married, with a higher degree in computer science and a high standard of living in Alicante — infiltrated banks to empty Remote cashiers, modify accounts by making high-value transfers or altering balances of deposits opened by your criminal organization.

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Once embezzlement was made, leader changed money made to Criptomonedas. The researchers believe that it came to hoard 15,000 bitcoins — which, at its current price, would amount more than 120 million euros; But that at end of last year could be changed even for almost 300 million —. The fact that funds are in Criptomonedas makes it very difficult to recover because of opacity of se currencies and inability to access m without knowing secret key that keeps m. The computer scientist had a huge mining infrastructure of bitcoins to launder funds from illegal activities.

The band led by Denis K. Had a double structure. On one hand, technical bloc, led by detainee and formed by three or people, was concerned with designing viruses that were sent by massive emails posing as companies with which banks had relationships. Once downloaded files that contained se emails — usually in format. RTF or. DOC — anor member of band responsible for scaling privileges within computer system was in action. It was at this time that ciberatracadores could commit fraud to access banks ' accounts and systems, virtually all those existing in Russia, but also some from Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Taiwan. In every attack on a bank, criminals used to get an average of a million and a half euros.

Cashiers in Madrid

The or leg of team was so-called mules. His job was to go to cashiers hacked to collect money ripped. Although band did not disappoint any Spanish financial entity, it did act on national soil. During first quarter of 2017, y fraudulently extracted half a million euros of ATMs located in center of Madrid — but from accounts of generally Russian banks — activity for which y needed mules, all members of a mafia group Moldovan.

Since y started acting five years ago, Denis K. And his band had developed three types of viruses. Between 20013 and 2017 y designed so-called Anunak (more primitive) and carberp (with more destructive capacity). As companies developed detection mechanisms, computer-criminals created new — and more dangerous — instruments. It is case of Cobalt Strike, with which y attacked not only Russian banks but of or former Soviet republics and Taiwan. Since 2017, Denis K. Was working on a new tool that at time of his arrest had not been used yet. When it was about to be operational, group proved its effectiveness in introducing operating systems of banks around world, including Spaniards, without being detected. With this new virus y had foreseen imminent holdups, but operation of national police demolished ir plans.

At press conference, Minister of Interior, Juan Ignacio Zoido, congratulated those responsible for operation. "We are facing one of most important operations of National Police for international transcendence of detained cybercriminal," said minister. The operation was coordinated by EUROPOL and by Specialized Prosecutor's Office of computer crime.

The only detainee on Spanish soil was Denis K., who has entered prison by order of judge of national Audiencia Manuel García-Castellón. However, police officers detracted from fact that it was only one of detainees, and y insisted on ir ability to cause millionaire damage to financial industry. Despite police success, operation has not contributed so far to recover money swindled. The agents seized a floor and a chalet worth a million euro and jewels for 500,000 euros.

An ever-increasing challenge for national security

The arrest of Denis K. And his band show extent to which cybersecurity and money-laundering through Criptomonedas is a growing challenge for police and judicial leaders in industrialized countries. The Minister of Interior, Juan Ignacio Zoido, encrypted in more than 500 investigations in progress on cyber-crimes and in more than 300 detainees in recent months for se reasons.

"Cybersecurity is already one of our strategic objectives. The social networks are magnificent in day to day, but y are increasingly used as tools to commit crimes, from petty to frauds that can put even at risk national security, "said Minister Zoido at press conference where he presented with Pride fall of leader of band of Ciberatracadores. Everything points to arrest of Denis K., which has found a Russian passport and anor Ukrainian, is not going to be last of se features.

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