Cyber Arrest Frequency on Rise

Thursday, July 23, 2015 @ 06:07 PM gHale

At one point making a cyber-related arrest was about as easy as winning a race against Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt. Yes, it is possible, but it is not going to happen.

Those days have changed, at least on the cyber law enforcement side, because in the case of a computer attack against JPMorgan Chase last summer federal authorities on Tuesday arrested four men in Florida and Israel in connection with a series of fraudulent investment schemes involving penny stocks and Bitcoin that spanned the globe, from Florida to New York to Israel to Cyprus and Russia.

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That arrest comes on the heels of the feds last week bringing down Darkode, the one-stop, high-volume shopping venue for some of the world’s most prolific cyber criminals. These are just two cases of arrests where law enforcement officials worked in a global environment to find and arrest suspects.

In the JPMorgan case, authorities also suspect some of the men arrested, along with a fifth man charged but still at large, had a hand in last summer’s hacking at JPMorgan that compromised the contact information for 83 million of the bank’s customers, according to people briefed on the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

None of the five men are facing charges of the theft of email addresses and other contact information from the bank or carrying out the hacking.

In Darkode, this underground, password-protected, online forum was a meeting place for those interested in buying, selling, and trading malware, botnets, stolen personally identifiable information, credit card information, hacked server credentials, and other pieces of data and software that facilitated complex cyber crimes all over the globe, the FBI said.

This invitation-only, English-speaking forum ended up infiltrated by the FBI which got into the communication platform at the highest levels and began collecting evidence and intelligence on Darkode members.

“This operation is a great example of what international law enforcement can accomplish when we work closely together to neutralize a global cybercrime marketplace,” said Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

In the JPMorgan case, the two men charged and arrested in Florida, Anthony Murgio and Yuri Lebedev, both attended Florida State University. The men face charges of running an illegal money-transfer operation that converted the digital currency Bitcoin into cash for online criminals.

Officials know less about the three Israel residents charged with running a pump-and-dump stock scheme that dates back to at least 2011. Police arrested two of the men, Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein, in Israel. United States prosecutors said they would seek to extradite them. A third man, Joshua Samuel Aaron, an American citizen who lives in Israel and the United States, ended up charged but remains at large.