Police have smashed a Romanian organised crime gang that allegedly hacked into the computer systems of small businesses, with credit card details of 30,000 Australians used in $30 million worth of illegal transactions around the world.
Australian and Romanian national police have broken up a ring of hackers blamed for pillaging the point-of-sale systems of Australian small businesses. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the ring stole credit card data from 30,000 Australian consumers by hacking into the systems of as many as 100 small businesses across the country. The data was then used to create counterfeit credit cards which racked up over $30 million in fraudulent charges around the world, including in the US.
The Australian ring appears to have used the same playbook for its even bigger credit card fraud operation, hitting businesses ranging from gas stations to grocery stores. Sixteen alleged members of the gang were arrested, and charges against seven more were filed in Romania. Among the arrested is Gheorghe "The Carpathian Bear" Ignat, a mixed martial artist and one-time Greco-Roman wrestling champion of Romania who now lives in the US.
Romanian prosecutors were expected in creating fake credit cards from stolen credit card details.Australian banks and credit unions have reimbursed the $30 million to the 30,000 Australians whose details were exposed by the hacking gang.The small businesses have also been told how their systems were accessed and have since improved their security.