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Scareware Scammer Arrested In Spain After 10 Years On The Run

Read also: BreachForum’s admin pleads guilty to three charges, Genesis Market gets a new owner, and more.

Thursday, July 20, 2023
Views: 4.9k Read Time: 2 min.

Scareware Scammer Arrested In Spain After 10 Years On The Run

Scareware developer arrested in Spain after a decade on the run

The Spanish authorities arrested a Ukrainian national wanted by the US for his involvement in a large-scale fraud operation between 2006 and 2011.

The suspect and his accomplices allegedly used a global network of infected computers to conduct a scareware scam - a social engineering tactic that tricks users into downloading or buying malicious or useless software.

The scam operation is said to have affected hundreds of thousands of victims worldwide, causing more than $70 million in losses. The suspect was arrested on July 11 at the Barcelona El Prat airport based on a Red Notice issued by Interpol.

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BreachForum’s admin pleads guilty to three charges

Conor Brian Fitzpatrick aka Pompompurin, the owner and administrator of the infamous cybercrime forum BreachForum (Breached) has pleaded guilty to three charges related to hacking and possession of child pornography.

Fitzpatrick, who was arrested in March this year in New York, is now facing a maximum penalty of 40 years of imprisonment, a fine of $750,000, and a supervised release term ranging from 3 years to life (the latter is related to child pornography possession charges).

As part of his plea bargain, Pompompurin has also handed over the ownership of a large number of domains and some hardware. All proceeds obtained by Fitzpatrick and his co-conspirators through criminal activities were also seized.

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BEC scammer sentenced to 8 years in prison for multi-million dollar fraud

A resident of the United Arab Emirates received an eight-year prison sentence for orchestrating a business email compromise (BEC) scheme that saw $8 million stolen from victims across the United States.

Olaekan Jacob Ponle aka “Mr. Woodbery” and “Mark Kain” and his co-conspirators used fraudulent emails impersonating a legitimate company or a known business contact to dupe employees of the victim organization into transferring money on accounts controlled by the scammers. The stolen funds were then converted to Bitcoin via a network of “mules.”

Ponle was arrested in June 2020 in the UAE and extradited to the US. Earlier this year, Ponle pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge.

Stolen credentials shop Genesis Market gets a new owner

The administrators of a major stolen credentials marketplace Genesis Market announced that the platform was sold to an unnamed buyer and will be handed over to the new owner “next month.” The marketplace has been advertised for sale since the end of June 2023.

In a short message posted on one of the hacker forums Genesis Market’s admin said that the package will include a complete database (without some client details), source code, scripts, and server infrastructure.

The news comes after the clearnet version of the Genesis Market was seized in April this year as part of an international law enforcement effort called “Operation Cookie Monster.”

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Ukraine’s police shut down massive bot farm involved in online fraud

The Cyber Police Department of the National Police of Ukraine dismantled a massive bot farm used to spread pro-Russian disinformation about the war in Ukraine, commit online fraud, and other nefarious activities.

The operators behind the farm used special equipment and software to create thousands of bot accounts on various social media sites. These accounts were used to disseminate Russian propaganda and to distribute the personal information of Ukrainian citizens.

The police carried out more than 20 raids across Ukraine, seizing computer equipment, mobile phones, over 250 internet gateways, and more than 150,000 SIM cards. Officials didn’t disclose whether any arrests were made but said that more than 100 people were involved in running the bot farm.

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Key Dutch has been working in information technology and cybersecurity for over 20 years, starting his first job with Windows 95 and dial-up modems. As the Editor-in-Chief of our Cybercrime Prosecution Weekly blog series, he compiles the most interesting news about police operations against cybercrime, as well as about regulatory actions enforcing data protection and privacy law.
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