Italian mafia was involved in cybercrimes, BEC scam and SIM swapping

Italian mafia and cybercrimes
Written by Emma Davis

This week, Europol and Eurojust reported that the Italian mafia was involved in cybercrimes and that law enforcement officers managed to eliminate a network associated with it.

The police operation led to the arrests of 106 people on the island of Tenerife in Spain, as well as in Turin and Isernia in Italy, who are accused of various cybercrimes and money laundering.

Law enforcement officers write that this group was mainly engaged in cybercrime: SIM-card swapping, as well as phishing and vishing, trying to penetrate the networks of companies, steal funds or trick employees into sending payments to accounts controlled by the attackers themselves (a classic scheme called BEC- a scam, from Business Email Compromise).

Using these tactics, the group stole and laundered more than € 10,000,000 using a network of money mules and shell companies. Most of the victims at the hands of the scammers were in Italy, but the group also attacked companies from Ireland, Spain, Germany, Lithuania and the UK.

The Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional) and the Italian National Police (Polizia di Stato) said they began tracking the group in June 2020, when it was noticed that dangerous individuals associated with Italian mafia organizations settled in the Canary Islands. The members of this hack group were reportedly associated with four Italian mafia structures: Camorra Napolitana, Nuvoletta, Casamonica and Sacra Corona Unita.

Spanish police say they have been monitoring the suspects for the past year, studying the internal structure of the group. It turned out that the group had a typical pyramid-like hierarchy, with leaders at the top and money mules at the bottom. The leaders were members of the Italian Neapolitan mafia, who often came to the Canary Islands to oversee the operations.

For the mafia, this method of funding was so important that they sent several Italian Justice members on the run from Italy to monitor financial activity on the spot, and receive and transfer money.the police say.

This group has also been associated with prostitution, arms sales, drug trafficking, kidnapping, fraud, identity theft, document forgery, social security fraud, robbery, extortion and two murders. And all this took place in the small Canary archipelago.

For example, the group needed hundreds of bank accounts to launder stolen funds, which needed to be opened and closed very quickly to prevent the funds from being frozen. At some point, unable to access new bank accounts, the group kidnapped a woman and threatened her to open 50 bank accounts on behalf of the organization, and then forced her to empty her own bank account by taking her to an ATM machine. When the attackers were identified and apprehended, the group threatened the victim and her friends not to testify.

In total, authorities arrested 106 people, froze 118 bank accounts, seized 224 credit cards, 402 marijuana bushes from a secret farm run by the group, as well as numerous computer equipment, phones and SIM cards.

Let me remind you that we also talked about the fact that Scammers impersonate the already defunct DarkSide hack group and are sending ransom letters to companies in the energy and food sectors.

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About the author

Emma Davis

I'm writer and content manager (a short time ago completed a bachelor degree in Marketing from the Gustavus Adolphus College). For now, I have a deep drive to study cyber security.

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