Ukrainian investigators are celebrating after claiming to have arrested a well-known mobile hacking gang that targeted victims through Apple and Samsung phishing sites.
Cyber experts have arrested five alleged members of the so-called “Phoenix” group in the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU).
Users were apparently lured to their phishing sites and, after downloading an app there, gave hackers remote access to their devices.
The SSU explained that the data thus obtained allowed the attackers to withdraw money from citizens’ accounts and sell information about their private lives to third parties. “The average ‘cost’ of unauthorized access to a mobile phone owner’s account was $ 200.”
The group also made money by unlocking Apple’s lost and stolen gadgets, which were later sold through a network of stores in Kiev and Kharkiv.
Phoenix apparently had been active for at least two years, gathering hundreds of victims.
Investigators found five addresses, including the homes of suspected hackers and ‘telephone shops’ that were in fact “underground technical centers.”
They seized stolen mobile phones and computing equipment, including software and hardware designed to hijack accounts.
Interestingly, five residents of Kyiv and Kharkiv are said to be graduates of advanced technical colleges. The lack of opportunities for large numbers of science and technology graduates in the region is a clear indication of the underground of Russian-speaking cybercrime.
Ukrainian police last month arrested a suspected botnet shepherd who was responsible for controlling an automated network of 100,000 compromised machines to launch DDoS and other attacks.
Alleged members of the Phoenix Group face charges under section 361 of the country’s Criminal Code for tampering with computers and networks.