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European Agencies and ATM Security.

skimmer_800_800On June 10th, Europol and ATM Security Team reiterated their collaboration in contrasting the so-called “payment crimes”, during one of the three annual meetings of the Team, held to Europol Headquarters in The Hague. “Security team” means EAST, the European ATM Security Team, a European non-profit organization, whose task is to collect and disseminate information to and from installe  rs and bank ATM networks (ATM = Automated Teller Machine).

Europol Centre against Cybercrime (EC3) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with EAST, in order to further strengthen cooperation in the fight against all forms of crime linked to ATM cards and credit cards, including virtual fraud, i.e. those that are committed in the absence of normal magnetic supports, by malware or other hi-tech techinques, or by physical attacks to ATMs themselves.

The MoU will allow to exchange data and strategic information, between the Agency and the EAST, meaning that one of the three annual meetings of the tastierino-400x300same team will be always held at the Europol headquarters in The Hague, just as has happened for the first time in the abovementioned cisrcumstance.

Beyond the statements made by leaders of the two organizations, Europol has recognized the seriousness of the physical or virtual attacks to ATM systems, and has prepared a document containing guidelines about the threat. The document (the drafting was coordinated by the EAST) will be disclosed in the coming days and is an example of a coordinated response between security agencies and the world of finance banking, aimed to contrast the emerging and increasingly worrying growth of some criminal phenomena such as, for example, the “skimming”.

For non-experts, we point out that “skimmers” are devices that can read the magnetic strip of debit cards and credit cards, directly into the ATM slots. Obviously, the very high nanotechnology of these “readers”, is associated with the use of illegally concealed cameras, positioned in such a way to spy on the finger movements of the money pickers, recording the numbers that form the PIN sequence.Un momento della prima della firma del protocoloo d'intesa

Europol: Operation “Triangle”, cybercrime net dismantled.

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.

Domenico Martinelli
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