Bank Systems & Technology > Phishing Attacks Linked To Organized Crime:
Michael Cohn, Security Pipeline
'There's a lot of activity in the former Soviet bloc, the Eastern bloc, Latvia and Ukraine,' says John Curran, supervisory special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Internet Crime Complaint Center. 'It definitely looks like there are organized groups.'
Phishing involves sending fraudulent e-mails that appears to be from a legitimate organization -- such as a bank, credit card company, online merchant or Internet service provider -- asking the recipient to divulge personal and financial information like birth dates, Social Security numbers and PIN codes. Unlucky victims are then subject to identity theft, monetary losses and credit card fraud.
While Curran notes that a broad array of criminals appears to be involved in phishing attacks, ranging from teenagers to grandmothers, the FBI is investigating links to organized crime. So far, Curran hasn't seen any indication that crime syndicates with ties to the Mafia are involved.
The U.S. Secret Service has also noted an increase in organized crime involvement in phishing. At AIT Global's Annual InfoSec Meeting at the United Nations in June, Robert Caltabiano, assistant to the special agent in charge in the New York Field Office of the U.S. Secret Service, pointed to the increasing presence of organized crime in phishing attacks. Although Caltabiano recommended that victims first go to local law enforcement for help, he noted, 'With phishing attacks, the information goes global.'"