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How Cell Phone Money Laundering Works 39

Posted by timothy
from the insert-tab-a-into-phone-b dept.
Orome1 writes "In Russia, most cell phone SIM cards are prepaid. One of the major Russian operators offers a legal service that allows anyone to transfer the prepaid amount of money from a SIM card to a bank account, a credit card, another cell phone number (via a text message) or to express money transfer service Unistream. This particular service is heavily misused by cyber crooks who use it to launder money collected through ransomware campaigns, mobile malware and SMS scam campaigns. Kaspersky Lab's Denis Maslennikov takes us though the steps of each of these types of scams and shares insights into the shady economy that has sprung up due to cyber criminals' need to get their hand on the collected money without leaving a direct trail."
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How Cell Phone Money Laundering Works

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  • Money Laundering (Score:5, Informative)

    by dracocat (554744) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @05:51PM (#38016934)

    I don't think money laundering means what you think it does. They do use the Cell Phones to transfer money, but has nothing to do with the laundering of the money. According to the 7 minute audio, they STILL need to use the services of money launderers.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by DNS-and-BIND (461968)
      I can't believe what a bunch of nerds we are. We're looking up " money laundering" in a dictionary.
      • by Sulphur (1548251)

        I can't believe what a bunch of nerds we are. We're looking up " money laundering" in a dictionary.

        Wash and rinse 10 percent
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        Perfume and blow dry 1 percent

  • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @05:54PM (#38016966)

    Jesus fucking Christ. At least link to a real article that I can read. Not some "podcast" of someone mumbling with a heavy Russian accent.

  • Seriously? (Score:5, Informative)

    by OverlordQ (264228) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @05:56PM (#38016998) Journal

    A fucking podcast? All the summary was a copy paste hatchet job from the linked article where I'd have to listen to the whole podcast to get any information.

    Thanks, but no thanks. How much did they pay you to post this crap?

  • huh? (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by TheCarp (96830)

    Well I live in the US and its hard to reconcile this odd concept of money "laundering"? How does one launder speech? Silly russians not recognizing that money is speech.!

  • by Cito (1725214) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @06:09PM (#38017098) Homepage
    This is an ingenius service, there are similar scams going on in Second Life.

    there are charities and fake sob stories just as ones mentioned in the podcast above. Or people get malware/keyloggers and hackers gain access to their second life accounts and either people under guise of charity or by hack have their 'lindens' transferred out to bot accounts. lindens is also the name of the in world currency. And second life offers a linden exchange where they convert all lindens to us dollars and transfer it to paypal. usually ay a 266-270 linden to $1 conversion rate.

    I myself sell scripts in second life to augment my income and through scripts and real estate renting to others I transfer about 300-500 us dollars per month to paypal then on to my bank account.

    but I've heard many horror stories of hackers doing the exact same tricks mentioned in the podcast in Second life for stealing then laundering the cash out.

    • you could theoretically use second life to get cash from your credit card without paying any outrageous fee or interest..... well at least in the past you could

  • If you get a SMS message in Russian...

  • by Fex303 (557896) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @06:43PM (#38017334)
    I hear there's a lot of this kind of stuff going on in the Torgai Hills...
  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday November 10, 2011 @06:44PM (#38017340) Homepage Journal

    How Cell Phone Money Laundering Works

    OK, let me get all this down...

    1. Get some cell phones
    2. Get some Russians
    3. ...
    4. Profit!

    I know the Chinese are getting all the pub, but you've got to admit, there's nothing like Russians for true financial market innovation.

  • by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @06:44PM (#38017342)

    Hello, my name is Denis Maslennikov and I'm a senior malware analist at Kaspersky Lab. In this Helpnet Security podcast I will talk about cellphone money laundering and how savvy criminals in Russia launder money from the real SIM cards and real cellphones.

    The vast majority of cellphone SIM cards in Russia are prepaid. One of the major Russian cellphone operators, Beeline, operates a fully legal service which allows anyone who uses an operator's SIM card to to transfer the prepaid amount of money from the SIM card to a credit card to a bank account to Unistream (it's some kind of Western Union analogue) and to another cellphone number, by sending a special SMS message to a short, free, number.

    You know, today it's hard to imagine life without a cellphone - if somebody leaves their home and forgets their watch, he or she won't come back. But if, for example, I forget my cellphone, I will definitely come back.

    There are a lot of SIM cards in Russia - the number of SIM cards [is] even bigger than the number of people who live in our country.

    People started to use this legal service in order to, for example.. if somebody cannot make a call to his child, he can transfer some money to [the] child's cellphone number and then simply dial. Such comfortable and legal services are always used by savvy criminals.

    After some time of the appearance of this service, savvy criminals started to use this service illegally - how do they do it?

    There are three main types of cellphone number replenishing;
    They can, for example, create malware which blocks a computer and asks to pay [a] ransom, but to pay ransom with the help of replenishing a concrete cellphone number with a certain amount of money.
    The second way is to create mobile malicious programs, SMS trojans, which will send a specialized SMS message to operator's short free number - but this SMS message will transfer money from the infected phone to the savvy criminal's cellphone number.
    And the third way, which is also very popular, is to create an SMS fancampaign with some kind of, say, fishy text, asking, for example... claiming "you won the lottery, in order to get your prize, please send an SMS message to this short free number with the following text" - and the text contains the cellphone number to transfer money [to] and the amount of money.

    These three activities are now, let's say, really popular - and it's hard to say which one of them is the most popular one. Ransomware is, like, one pillar, SMS trojans is the second pillar, and SMS scam campaigns [are] some kind of third pillar.

    So let's talk more about all these activities in details.

    If you talk about ransomware, the first examples of such ransomware appeared in [the] very beginning of 2010, so it's like almost 2 years. And they continue to evolve, they continue to infect users, personal computers and as usual pornography is the main source of such applications. Fake pornographic websites - the user clicks [on] the link if he wants to watch a fake video surely he'll be asked to download a special application, a codec, as it claims, but in fact it would be a malicious application which will blow up [the] screen and asks to pay ransom.

    If we talk about the mobile malware, it's usually spready by SMS spam. Users usually normally receive a message claiming that "hey, you received an MMS card, an MMS present, from the girl named 'Kate'[?]" (the most popular name in all these SMS spam campaigns). If the user downloads this malicious application and launches it, he will lose some amount of money from his SIM card; because the money will be transferred from his SIM card to [the] cyber criminal's SIM card.

    And if we talk about SMS scam campaigns.. in this case, cyber criminals use real-life examples in order to force users to transfer money from one account to another. Sometimes they use really sad and bad real-life examples, like [the] Moscow underground bombing or terrorist attack in Domodedovo Airport in Moscow, after some time o

  • by bryan1945 (301828) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @06:49PM (#38017384) Journal

    Mumble a lot in Russian.
    ???
    Money.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm glad I came across this Slashdot article... it saved me and my friends (Samir and Michael Bolton) from having to look up "money laundering" in the dictionary!

    --Peter G

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