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September 30, 2009

Finjan exposes money-making cyber theft methods

Money mules and Trojan malware beat anti-fraud systems

By CBR Staff Writer

Secure web gateway supplier Finjan Inc has mapped a process by which cyber criminals are robbing money from online bank accounts using money mules and Trojans, warning the method could be the start of a new trend in cyber theft.

In its latest Cybercrime Intelligence Report, the company reports how hackers have used the approach to successfully avoid anti-fraud systems and siphon off €300,000 in little over three weeks.

“Cybercriminals have a new way to tap into and manipulate accounts to steal funds and the technique is gathering momentum,” it warned today.

In its report Finjan describes a specific attack aimed at German banking customers which used web sites to spread malicious code later used to steal online banking credentials. 

“The cybergang used the commercial-grade LuckySpoilt crimeware toolkit to install the Trojan on the victim’s PC. The URLZone bank Trojan toolkit was used to send instructions and to control the money transfer from the victims’ bank accounts via money mules to the cybergang.”

Worryingly, Finjan said the manoeuvre escaped the attentions of the banks’ anti-fraud detection systems.

Money mules are recruited to receive the illegal money transfers and knowingly or unknowingly directed to resend them to the criminals in return for some kind of payment or commission.

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Finjan said it had informed the German law enforcement agencies of the criminal activities of the cyber gang it has been monitoring, and the methods the group have used so successfully.

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