Phishing 1324123

Two Romanians accused of sophisticated phishing attacks targeting major financial institutions have been extradited to the US for trial.

25 year old Petru Bogdan Belbita and 28 year old Cornel Ionut Tonita, both from Romania, were arrested in Canada and Croatia respectively.  They stand accused, along with five other defendants, of duping customers of financial institutions, including PayPal, Citibank, Capital One, into divulging information such as credit card or account details, which were then used for fraudulent purposes, back in 2007.

The sophisticated scam involved a mixture of phishing emails (notable for their excellent spelling and grammar), social engineering and Denial of Service (DOS) attacks on some of the target banks.  In one case, the website of Brattleboro Savings & Loan Association was taken down using a DOS attack to give an air of authenticity to a phishing email to customers of the bank, asking them to provide sensitive information for an upgrade of the bank’s computer systems.

The arrest and extradition of the suspects required the co-operation of many domestic and international law-enforcement bodies, including but not limited to the Interpol, the Romanian National Police, the FBI, the Croatian police, and the Canadian police, and serves to demonstrate the difficulty faced by law enforcement agencies in bringing global cyber-criminals to justice.

One defendant in the case, Ovidiu-Ionut Nicola-Roman, 23, has already pleaded guilty to a single felony count of conspiracy to commit fraud and received a 50 month jail sentence, followed by three years supervised release.  He was picked up in Bulgaria in June 2007, while the other suspects remained at large.

Read more at The Register

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