US authorities have arrested 24 suspected hackers in four continents claiming that they had been stealing credit cards and bank information and carrying out fraud.
It took two-years for the Untouchables to catch the suspects. They posed as hackers on internet forums and saw other users swapping methods for breaching data security walls and creating fake credit cards.
The FBI claimed that the probe stopped $205 million in possible losses on over 411,000 compromised consumer credit and debit cards.
According to Reuters, 11 people were arrested in the United States, and 13 others were arrested in countries from Britain to Japan.
Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara, who was clearly channelling the Lone Ranger, said that clever computer criminals operating behind the supposed veil of the Internet “are still subject to the long arm of the law”.
The FBI said it not only monitored the hackers’ activities but also contacted “multiple” people and institutions hit by the hackers – and told them how to repair their security breaches and protect themselves in the future.
The 24 were all men aged 18 to 25. Some face up to 40 years or more in prison if convicted on conspiracy to commit wire fraud charges and access device fraud charges.
They were members of a forum called “Carder Profit”, which was essentially an online market for registered users to exchange stolen account numbers. It was shut down in May.
One of the men has been named as Mir Islam, known online as “JoshTheGod”. Islam, 18, had admitted to helping emerging hacker outfit UgNazi, which said it had launched a cyber attack against Twitter last week, the FBI claimed. Islam, 18, was released on a $50,000 bond.
Joshua Hicks, 19, also known as “OxideDox”, was charged with one count of access device fraud.