|Computer users are being lured into visiting
bogus banking websites.
Experts at Sophos have reminded internet users to protect
themselves online, as two men who stole up to £6.5 million (US
$11.8 million) as part of their involvement in a phishing gang were
jailed for a total of ten years by a British court.
Douglas Havard, a 24-year-old American living in Leeds, was
found guilty of conspiracy to defraud and launder money and was
sentenced to six years in prison. Fellow phisher Lee Elwood, a
25-year-old Glaswegian, received a four year jail sentence for the
The court in Leeds heard how the two men ran a credit card
cloning operation which used stolen financial information obtained
through phishing scams. The bank accounts of victims were then
looted, and their identities used to buy and sell goods online. The
criminals, who were active on criminal underground websites such as
Shadowcrew, were said to live a lavish lifestyle.
"It is essential that anyone who uses the internet should be
properly defended against the increasing amount of criminal
activity we are seeing online. Everyone should practise safe computing and protect
themselves with up-to-date security software," said Graham Cluley, senior
technology consultant for Sophos. "These sentences send out a
strong message that the authorities are not going to turn a blind
eye to phishers and identity fraudsters."
According to a spokeswoman for the National Hi Tech Crime Unit
(NHTCU), the total amount of money obtained during the crime spree
could have reached £6.5 million. The NHTCU is working closely with
law enforcement agencies in other countries to try and track down
others overseas involved in the crime spree, as it is believed much
of the stolen money was sent to hackers in Eastern Europe.
Havard is reported to be facing additional counterfeiting and
armed robbery charges in Texas.