Ukrainian police uncover international phone hacking gang

Adam Bannister November 26, 2021 at 03:36 PM UTC

Updated: November 26, 2021 at 16:17 UTC

“Phoenix” group put to death after seizure of stolen computer equipment and devices

Ukrainian police say they halted the activities of an international phone hacking collective after seizing evidence against them in a series of raids.

Dubbed “Phoenix”, the cybercrime group is accused of using phishing schemes to hack the targets’ mobile devices, which in turn allowed them to collect bank credentials and withdraw funds from the financial accounts of the targets. victims.

Ukrainian law enforcement officials seized stolen computer equipment, hacking tools and cell phones that were being prepared for resale after raiding five addresses, including offices as well as “phone shops” and stores. suspicious houses ”based in Kiev and Kharkiv.

Several press reports reported that the five Ukrainian members of Phoenix, all of whom have advanced technical training, have been arrested. However, a Ukrainian-language press release issued by the Ukrainian Security Service (SSU) on Wednesday, November 24 did not explicitly mention the arrests. We have approached the SSU in the hope of clarifying this point.

Ukrainian authorities confiscated computer equipment in series of raidsUkrainian authorities confiscated computer equipment in series of raids

Harmful activities

The victims were tricked into disclosing their phone account login details to websites apparently operated by mobile device makers such as Apple and Samsung.

The attackers were then able to remotely access their brands’ mobile devices and sell the personal data subsequently collected to third parties.

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They also sold unauthorized access to victims’ mobile phone accounts for an average of $ 200, the SSU said.

Cyber ​​crooks have targeted several hundred victims over a period of more than two years, authorities added.

Previous cybercrime scalps

The seizures represent the latest in a series of recent cybercrime success stories for Ukrainian police, sometimes with the support of foreign and international law enforcement agencies.

For example, in October, the SSU disrupted a powerful botnet as well as a group that laundered tens of millions of US dollars for cybercriminals.

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And in September, they arrested two individuals for a series of ransomware attacks against large industrial groups in Europe and North America, as part of an operation coordinated by Europol, with additional support from Interpol, the FBI and French law enforcement.

Ukrainian police were also involved in an operation that saw U.S. authorities seize $ 6.1 million earlier this month as part of a ransomware campaign whose victims included computer giant Kaseya in July.

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