US indicts leaders of cybercrime ring

WASHINGTON: The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced indictments on Wednesday for 36 people accused of running a transnational ring stealing and selling credit card and personal identity data, causing US$530 million (S$705 million) in losses.

Thirteen members of the Infraud Organisation were arrested in the US, Australia, Britain, France, Italy, Kosovo and Serbia, it said.

Created in 2010 by Ukrainian Svyatoslav Bondarenko, Infraud was a key hub for card fraud, touting itself with the motto "In Fraud We Trust."

It was "the premier one-stop shop for cyber criminals", said the DOJ's Deputy Assistant Attorney-General David Rybicki.

Members could buy and sell card and personal data for use to buy goods on the Internet, defrauding the card owners, card issuers and vendors.

Infraud operated automated vending sites to make it easy for someone to buy card and identity data from it. It had 10,901 approved "members" registered to buy and sell with it last year.

The senior administrators continually screened the products and services of vendors "to ensure quality" , said the indictment.

The group operated moderated Web forums to share advice among customers, and operated an "escrow" service for payments in digital currencies such asbitcoin, the DOJ said.

"As alleged in the indictment, Infraud operated like a business to facilitate cyberfraud on a global scale," said Acting Assistant Attorney-General John Cronan.

Bondarenko remains at large, but the number two figure in the organisation, Russian co-founder Sergey Medvedev, has been arrested, said officials. - AFP