SSU takes down Phoenix cybercrime group

The Security Service of Ukraine, more colloquially known as the SSU in English and Служба безпеки України (СБУ) in Ukrainian, has announced the arrest of major players in a cybercrime group. According to an official press release, the SSU’s Cyber Security Department dismantled the Phoenix group. Phoenix is a cybercriminal gang most known for its attacks on mobile devices (and stealing sensitive information on said devices).

The SSU describes Phoenix’s main attack methodology as follows:

“In their activities, offenders used specially designed software and hardware. To gain access to accounts, hackers used phishing resources – copies of sites of well-known manufacturers of mobile phones, Apple, Samsung and others. Downloading the application from such a pseudo-official site, users provided the criminals with the passwords to their accounts. Then, the hackers copied the information stored on the phone. The data obtained in this way enabled the thieves to withdraw funds from accounts and sell information about victims’ private lives to third parties.”

The Phoenix group had members from all over the world, five of whom belonged to Ukraine and resided in Kyiv and Kharkiv. It was in these cities that Phoenix engaged in the illegal sales of jailbroken iPhones that were reported lost or stolen by the original owners.

Prior to their dismantling by SSU’s Cyber Security Department, the Phoenix group had been operating for roughly two years. They were taken down following searches executed at various locations using phone sales as a front for their more nefarious activities. Numerous pieces of evidence, including the stolen mobile phones, were found at the five underground bases of operations.

As of this time, SSU investigators are looking to serve notices to Phoenix members and prosecute them. Investigators are using Article 361 (illegal interference in the work of computers, systems, and computer networks) to serve as the framework for their prosecution. The legal proceedings are being spearheaded by Kyiv Dniprovskyi District Prosecutor’s Office.

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons/Адміністрація Президента України


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