Yesterday, an international joint police operation, called Operation “Triangle”, has led to the dismantling of a group of criminals, who were active in Italy, Spain, Poland, United Kingdom, Belgium and Georgia, and are suspected of committing financial fraud and intrusion in e-mail accounts.
The operation – which took place simultaneously with searchs in 58 homes in the involved countries – led to the arrest of 49 alleged members of the criminal group. Law enforcement officials from different Member States have seized forged documents and bank accounts, credit cards and cash, as well as numerous laptops, hard drives, phones, tablets, and SIM cards.
The brilliant operation, which was coordinated by the European Centre for the Europol Computer Crime (EC3) and Eurojust (the European agency in charge of cooperation in the field of criminal justice), and whose principal actors were the Italian Postal & Communications Police, the Spanish State Police, the Polish Central Bureau of Investigation and some law enforcement agencies in the UK, dismantled this organization and discovered an international 6-milions-euro fraud.
Money was earned in a very short time, because the modus operandi used by this criminal group was the so-called “man in the middle”, and was based on repeated attacks in telematics systems, through the use of malwares and social engineering techniques, against European companies of medium and large business volume.
Once entered into the corporate accounts mail, hackers began to monitor communications to detect requests for payment. Customers were then asked to send the money on bank accounts controlled by the criminals.
Criminals, mainly coming from Nigeria, Cameroon and Spain, transferred their illegal gains outside the European Union, through an intricate money laundering bank transactions.
To allow a rapid coordination, a fast communication between the different actors and an effective exchange of information, a coordination center was set up at the Europol headquarters in The Hague, which hosted all representatives from the different national police forces and Eurtojust.
In short, the famous former “third pillar” is finally working.