July 18, 2024

Tyna Woods

Technology does the job

Criminal ‘spoofing’ website taken down and more than 140 arrested

Criminal ‘spoofing’ website taken down and more than 140 arrested

An Garda Síochána was one of many international authorities involved in the investigation to bring down iSpoof.

Law enforcement authorities across Europe, North America and Australia have taken down a ‘spoofing’ website that enabled criminals to steal millions of euros from victims around the world.

Europol said a total of 142 arrests have been made in connection to the investigation, led by the UK and supported by European authorities including An Garda Síochána.

These arrests include the main administrator of the iSpoof website, and six arrests have been made in Ireland.

“The arrests today send a message to cybercriminals that they can no longer hide behind perceived international anonymity,” said Europol executive director Catherine De Bolle.

“Europol coordinated the law enforcement community, enriched the information picture and brought criminal intelligence into ongoing operations to target the criminals wherever they are located.”

According to Europol, iSpoof is believed to have caused an estimated worldwide loss of more than €115m.

The website offered illegal services for paying users, such as anonymously making spoofed calls, sending recorded messages and intercepting one-time passwords. It enabled users to impersonate trusted entities such as banks, retail companies and even government institutions.

“When thinking about overall cybersecurity threats, identity is now a critical attack vector,” said David Mahdi, cybersecurity expert at Sectigo.

“Attackers use identity as a point of focus through means of hijacking privileged user identities. People are waking up to the fact that identity management is not solely the responsibility of cybersecurity professionals, but all professionals handling sensitive data, such as HR.”

Marijus Briedis, chief technology officer at cybersecurity firm NordVPN, added that many iSpoof customers were “highly professional gangs” who saw the services provided as worthwhile investments.

“Those responsible need to be made examples of and new powers introduced if necessary to enable the police to increase the pace at which they can smash these organisations. The end of iSpoof is fantastic news but there are thousands more people out there like them.”

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