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Dozens Arrested in International Computer Hacking Scheme

Federal law enforcement officials have arrested more than 60 people in an international computer hacking scheme that resulted in the theft of millions of dollars from U.S. bank accounts of individuals, businesses and government agencies. Those involved in the scheme allegedly infected computers with viruses via e-mail. The malware embedded into the victims' computers then gathered user names and passwords for online bank accounts, which were used to take over the bank accounts.

According to federal authorities, funds from the captured bank accounts were transferred to third-party accounts opened by "mules." The money was withdrawn after it was laundered by the mule accounts. The organized computer crime scheme's base is in Eastern Europe. The mules were mostly young people from Eastern Europe in the U.S. on student visas. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, some of the students were knowingly involved in the high-tech bank heists, but others were simply looking for employment when they were recruited by Russian mule bosses.

Authorities say the hackers often targeted businesses and municipalities because it was less likely that they would be immediately detected, if at all, for transferring thousands of dollars from the accounts.

Federal authorities have already arrested 20 suspects in the U.S. and are currently looking for 17 more.


Dozens charged in schemes to steal from bank accounts using computer viruses (Los Angeles Times)

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