Hackers accessed more than €600 000 in loyalty points and sold them on to another criminal group
Polish and Swiss law enforcement authorities, supported by Europol and Eurojust, dismantled InfinityBlack, a hacking group involved in distributing stolen user credentials, creating and distributing malware and hacking tools, and fraud. On 29 April 2020, the Polish National Police (Policja) searched six locations in five Polish regions and arrested five individuals believed to be members of the hacking group InfinityBlack. Police seized electronic equipment, external hard drives and hardware cryptocurrency wallets, all worth around €100 000. Two platforms with databases containing over 170 million entries were closed down by the police.
Hackers target loyalty point schem for high-end electronics
The hacking group created online platforms to sell user login credentials known as ‘combos’. The group was efficiently organised into three defined teams. Developers created tools to test the quality of the stolen databases, while testers analysed the suitability of authorisation data. Project managers then distributed subscriptions against cryptocurrency payments. The hacking group’s main source of revenue came from stealing loyalty scheme login credentials and selling them on to other, less technical criminal gangs. These gangs would then exchange the loyalty points for expensive electronic devices. The hackers created a sophisticated script to gain access to a large number of Swiss customer accounts. Although the losses are estimated at €50 000, hackers had access to accounts with potential losses of more than €610 000. The fraudsters and hackers, among them minors and young adults, were unmasked when using the stolen data in shops in Switzerland. A number of investigation measures by specialists from the Cyber Investigation Division (DEC) of the Vaud Cantonal Police made it possible to dismantle the InfinityBlack hackers network set up to exploit this data to the detriment of businesses. Between 30 April and 2 May 2019, five arrests were made in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland.
Cross-border cross-checks lead to hackers
Once the criminal gang cashing out the loyalty points was identified in Switzerland, police exchanged criminal intelligence and uncovered links to members of the separate hacking group in Poland. Transmitting the data on searched computers between the Swiss and Polish authorities led to the arrest of the hackers in Poland. Europol enabled close cooperation between cyber units in Poland and Switzerland through the dedicated network of cyber liaison officers (J-CAT) hosted at Europol’s headquarters. Europol also supported the operation by facilitating information exchange and providing technical and analytical support. Eurojust also facilitated the transmission of information between the Public Prosecutor’s Offices in Switzerland and Poland.