Dutch police nab ABN Amro hackers

Dutch police nab ABN Amro hackers

14 suspects arrested on money laundering charges

Dutch authorities have arrested 14 suspects accused of allowing their ABN Amro accounts to be used by cyber-criminals to store and transfer illegal funds.

According to reports, fraudsters based in Russia and Ukraine set up bogus ABN Amro websites to lure the bank's customers and harvest security details to access accounts and steal money.

Several of the sites were hosted on the Russian Business Network, an ISP which is alleged to host illegal and dubious businesses, including phishing and malware distribution sites.

The stolen funds were then allegedly placed in the bank accounts of the 14 ABN Amro customers, and these 'mules' subsequently transferred the money overseas to Russia and other countries.

"While these 14 suspects may not have actually carried out the phishing attacks themselves, they played a key role in the crime by allowing the fraudsters to use their bank accounts," said Mark Harris, global director of Sophos Labs.

"However, in these situations it can be tricky to prove the deliberate involvement of the account holder as it is quite easy for them to claim that they are simply the victim of identity theft."

Sophos experts noted a growing trend among cyber-criminals to recruit ordinary people to help them move their illegal profits around the world.

Sophos Labs detected an unusual 419 email scam this month which, instead of offering the typical promise of grant, lottery or prize money, purported to come from the American Red Cross.

The email offered the recipient a job as a 'donation collector', accepting and shipping donations to 'people in need' for various EU projects.