Science and Technology News

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Deputy Assistant Attorney General David Rybicki of the Criminal Division Delivers Remarks Announcing International Cyber Fraud Ring Takedown



Thanks for participating on the call.  My name is David Rybicki.  I am a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division here at the Department of Justice and I supervise the Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section.

Today marks a significant step in the battle against transnational cybercrime.

A federal grand jury in the District of Nevada has returned an indictment, unsealed today, against 36 cybercriminals from the United States and 17 countries on five continents who participated in a transnational racketeering enterprise via an internet forum called “Infraud.”

Members of the Infraud Organization used the forum to coordinate and conduct online criminal activities that included identity theft, bank fraud, wire fraud and computer crimes.  Coordinated with the unsealing of the indictment today, U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents across the country and our law enforcement counterparts in France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Kosovo, Serbia and Albania have conducted operations that have resulted in the arrest of 13 members of the Infraud Organization.

Operating under the slogan “In Fraud We Trust,” members of the Infraud Organization used the online forum to purchase and sell stolen credit card numbers, financial information, social security numbers, passwords and other personally identifying information; they advertised services that facilitated these activities and related, illicit financial transactions; and they disseminated malware.

Infraud was truly the premier one-stop shop for cybercriminals worldwide.

Over the course of the Infraud Organization’s seven-year history, its members targeted more than 4.3 million credit cards, debit cards and bank accounts held by individuals around the world and in all 50 states.  

The actions of the Infraud Organization resulted in approximately $2.2 billion in intended losses and over $530 million in actual losses to U.S. financial institutions, merchants and consumers.  That makes this case one of the largest cyber fraud enterprise prosecutions ever undertaken by the Department of Justice.

This case reflects the alarming and increasing threat posed by cybercrime.  A recent report predicts that the annual cost of global cybercrime will exceed $2 trillion by 2019, four times the 2015 estimate.  Those staggering numbers demonstrate why addressing this growing danger is among the Department’s top priorities.

Like most organized transnational criminal enterprises, Infraud’s members had defined roles within the organization’s hierarchy.  But unlike the organized crime of years past, many of the organization’s nearly 11,000 members have never met in person and do not know the true identities of their co-conspirators — they know each other only by their online user names and other anonymized identifiers.  Infraud members used the forum’s private message threads, digital currency escrow services, VPNs, and other anonymizing software, to keep it that way.

But as today’s announcement demonstrates, the Department of Justice refuses to allow cybercriminals to hide behind the anonymity of the web while stealing personally identifying information, emptying bank accounts, and wreaking havoc on our nation’s digital infrastructure and financial system.  We aggressively investigate, indict, and when possible, prosecute the cybercriminals responsible for such brazen attacks.  The charges and arrests announced today are a victory for the rule of law. 

Long-term success in the fight against global cybercrime — not only against groups like Infraud, but also cybercriminals who flock to dark web markets for child pornography, human trafficking, illegal drugs, firearms and narcotics — requires that we systematically address the many challenges posed by cybercrime.  Cybercriminals consistently seek new ways to abuse and exploit developing technologies.  But the dedicated professionals at the Department of Justice are equally hard at work ensuring that we have the ability to effectively investigate and prosecute these cybercriminals, as well as to conduct outreach to the cybersecurity community and to advocate for legislative change, when necessary.  While we continue to use all lawful tools available to identify, apprehend and prosecute cybercriminals, at the same time we are also working toward a comprehensive cybercrime strategy.

As you have heard today, law enforcement across the globe acted swiftly to take Infraud’s cybercriminals off the Internet.  This case is the result of the outstanding work of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; the Henderson, Nevada, Police Department; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada; the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section; our foreign law enforcement counterparts; and the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs.  

On behalf of the Department, I thank them for their efforts in this case and for their daily work to curb the threats posed to our citizens by transnational criminal enterprises like the Infraud Organization.

And with that I’ll turn it over to U.S. Attorney Elieson.   

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