back to article Mafia works remotely, too, it seems: 100+ people suspected of phishing, SIM swapping, email fraud cuffed

Police arrested 106 people suspected of carrying out online fraud for an organized crime gang linked to the Italian Mafia, Europol said on Monday. Most of those detained were cuffed in Spain, and the rest in Italy, by Spanish National Police, Italian National Police, Europol, and Eurojust, we're told. It's claimed the …

  1. Mike 137 Silver badge

    SIM swapping attacks

    The truth about SIM swapping had to surface eventually. We've been told in thepast that it only targets the "elite". We've been led to believe SMS token authentication is a robust system. However at least a decade ago it was being shown to be vulnerable, and a couple of years back EUROPOL publicly declared it should be avoided.

    Yet now we're being forced by our banks to implement SMS token based "security" for online banking. That's insecure "security" on top of insecure transactions.

    1. Chris G

      Re: SIM swapping attacks

      My Spanish bank has insisted that for all online purchases, an app must be installed and purchases authorised by an SMS token.

      I was less than impressed by their IT skills after trying to install the app for over three weeks, it would show the entry page and freeze.

      In the end my local branch got it to load by talking to their IT hell desk while it loaded.

      The bank has also sent sensitive info in plain text via email on more than one occasion and does not respond to suggestions.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SIM swapping attacks

        Most Spanish banks stop the entire of the internet logging into your account with your ID number (known by many businesses, can often be leaked) and a four-digit PIN. It's madness.

        E.g. your teleco's customer service support drone knows enough about you (ID number, DOB, phone number, bank, possibly the PIN you use to log into your teleco's website is the same PIN to log into your bank's website) to SIM swap you and empty your bank account, should they feel so inclined.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: SIM swapping attacks

      My bank, the BCEE in Luxembourg, is not using SMS authentication.

      I have a one-time token generator to log on to my online account.

      I rather like that solution.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: SIM swapping attacks

      I bought a new mobile exclusively for this nonsense with banks. No-one else knows the number, not even my other half.

      Then, of course, since I'm not using it like a "normal" mobile, the company will disable the number and I'll be back at square one, probably worse trying to recover it all.

  2. Cederic Silver badge


    The bit that gets me is that the technical skills, logistics and management needed to create and run an operation like this could enjoy tremendous success in legitimate business.

    I guess the marketing side of things works differently.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All in all, the enterprise made about €10m

    what, per hour, per day? Perhaps that was a mafia's mafia-shell / honeytrap?

  4. steviebuk Silver badge

    How accurate it is..

    ..i don't know but its thought the Italian Mafia isn't as near big as it use to be due to newer technology. Cops aren't as easy to bribe anymore as they know they'll get caught and they struggle with the constant advances in surveillance tech.

    Gone has the "golden" age. I say that with irony as they've obviously always been arseholes and never golden. Yes, films about them are, unfortunately, interesting, but anyone that thinks they are "cool" should just look at their history. Any chance your best mate is going to get you pinched and that best mate is now dead. You're only "with us" while you're making money.

    I don't know why I've written this whole comment.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Good work

    Let the Mafia sleep with the phishes.

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: Good work

      They're good Catholic boys, I'll have you know. Virtuously cleaving into Christ's dictum:

      "Come with me and I will make you phishers of men."

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