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Firm owner loses $2m in cyber scam
By Hamza M. Sengendo March 04, 2013
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DUBAI: A gang of cyber-attackers was intercepted and bogus cheques worth Dhs6 billion seized following a $2 million scam that affected a company owner, police revealed on Sunday.

The Dubai Police Deputy Commander, Major General Khamis Mattar Al Mazeina, said that the CID’s Electronic Investigation Department and the Dubai Police at large always strive to confront diverse electronic crimes in line with technological developments.

“The department arrested a gang of e-pirates — comprising Asians and Africans — and seized Dhs6 billion bogus cheques. The gang had managed to swindle $2 million,” he said.

They would recruit a “mail-hacker” to work for them. He would hack and set up programs that disclose company data before looting money by establishing accounts of fictitious companies or through accounts of intermediaries.

The Deputy CID Director for Search and Investigation, Colonel Salem Khalifa Al Rumaithi, said that the department had received a tipoff regarding an e-scam worth $ 2million.

“From abroad, they had hacked the e-mail of a client company belonging to the victim and altered transaction, billing and remittance data,” he said.

Asian suspects

Police arrested KS, an Asian suspect who received the illicitly transferred money and a 7 per cent cut.  He was found to possess 3 luxury cars: a Bentley, a Rolls-Royce and a Toyota Sequoia.

Investigations led to the arrest of another Asian man, CK, who provided bank account numbers of the gang to which money could be transferred through the establishment of ghost companies.

Upon arrest, he reportedly admitted that after the transfer, he received a 3 per cent cut and gave the remaining sum to the mastermind, an African man.

The Electronic Investigation Department Director, Lieutenant Colonel Salem Al Muhairi, said “the police pursued the African man, DS, for four days. He acted as a mediator between CK and a gang in Africa hacking e-mails exchanged among global companies.

“DS was seized with cash remittances and forged cheques of about Dhs4.6 billion in addition to IDs of different names,” he explained. He added that the gang would manipulate business deals, change bank account numbers and plough huge sums of money into any account of theirs.

A search for the stolen money at DS’s apartment enabled the police to arrest another African suspect, JD. He was found with a fake passport and a currency-counterfeiting machine.

The police have taken the necessary measures — in coordination with Interpol — to arrest the other members of the gang operating from certain African countries, according to Col. Al Rumaithi.

The CID Director, Brigadier Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri, hailed the efforts of concerned officers and urged the public to be vigilant and to not accept money remittances and transfers when dealing with unknown persons online.

“All computer users should update operating systems and download anti-virus systems periodically so that hackers cannot find a security flaw. They should not open any unknown links or files to avoid viruses being uploaded by hackers.”

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