Czech-mate for Prague phishing stooge arrested by police

April 12, 2006 Sophos Press Release

Phishers steal money and confidential data from internet users. Image copyright (c) Sophos
Phishers steal money and confidential data from internet users.

Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global network of virus, spyware and spam analysis centers, have welcomed the news that Czech authorities have arrested a man suspected of involvement in a gang which phished the bank accounts of innocent internet users.

In what is said to be the first arrest of its kind in the Czech Republic, a man was arrested while waiting at a bank counter in Prague, where he was said to have been attempting to pick up money stolen through the phishing scheme. If found guilty, the man faces up to 12 years in prison.

According to the police, the detained man was hired by a criminal gang to withdraw money from a bank account, which had had funds transferred to it from plundered accounts belonging to Citibank customers. The gang is said to have sent a number of emails disguised as communications from Citibank, asking for recipients to confirm their bank account details and other personal data.

"The Czech police deserves congratulations for investigating this case and making its first phishing arrest. But this is just an opening move in a long game, and we also need to see firm action taken against the phisher kings," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Sophos experts have for a long time been aware of criminal gangs operating in eastern Europe, which is sadly becoming one of the world's hotspots for internet crime. Everyone needs to be on their guard against phishing, and ensure that their finances are not being put at risk."

Sophos recommends companies protect their email with a consolidated solution to thwart the virus and spam threats and secure their desktops and servers with automatically updated anti-virus protection.