Ultrascan KPO

Knowledge itself is power

Attacks on US, Korea Web Sites Leave a Winding Trail - PCWorld

"Going after IP addresses is not really helpful," said Max Becker, CTO of Ultrascan Knowledge Process Outsourcing, a subsidiary of fraud investigation firm Ultrascan. "What we are trying to do is go after the people who set up and pay for these kinds of attacks."

Ultrascan has a network of informants who are closed to organized criminal gangs in Asia, many of which are involved in cybercrime - 11 08 2009

Going after IP addresses is not really helpful

Criminals Pay Top Money for Hackable Nokia Phone

Criminals are willing to pay thousands of euros for a discontinued Nokia mobile phone with a software problem that can be exploited to hack into online bank accounts, according to a fraud investigator in the Netherlands.

April 20, 2009

About 10 days ago, investigators observed someone transfer €25,000 (US$32,413) for a Nokia 1100 phone, said Frank Engelsman of Ultrascan Advanced Global Investigations. The candy-bar style phone is one of Nokia's all-time best-selling models, and originally sold for under €100.

Engelsman said police contacted Ultrascan about six months ago to see if the security company knew why the phones were in demand. Since then, Ultrascan has seen the price for the Nokia 1100 rise from around €5,000 to the latest figure.

"We thought 'What could be so special about the phone?'" Engelsman said.


The 1100 was a low-cost phone released in late 2003 and aimed at developing markets. Nokia has sold more than 200 million of the 1100 and its successors.

However, the high prices are only being paid for Nokia 1100 phones that were made in a factory in Bochum, Germany, Engelsman said, citing an Ultrascan informant. Those phones contain Nokia software from 2002 that is apparently vulnerable to tampering.

Investigators don't have a complete picture of the technical problem. However, Ultrascan's informant said the phones can be used to intercept one-time passwords needed to complete an online banking transaction, Engelsman said.

It appears that a known Russian and Moroccan cybercrime gang, as well as other Romanian gangs, are trying to obtain the Nokia 1100 with the vulnerable software, Engelsman said.

Nokia officials contacted Monday morning did not have an immediate comment.

Engelsman said cybercriminals have collected thousands of user names and passwords for online banking accounts in countries such as Germany and Holland. Banks in those countries also request a TAN (transaction authentication number) code, or a one-time password, to complete a transaction.

The banks previously issued lists of TAN codes to customers. During a transaction, the bank would request one of the codes to complete the transaction. However, due to successful phishing attacks where people have been tricked into revealing some TAN codes, the banks are now sending a code by SMS (Short Message Service) to a person's mobile phone, Engelsman said.

The Bochum-made 1100 can apparently be reprogrammed to use someone else's phone number, thus intercepting the TAN code and enabling an illegal money transfer into a criminal's account, Engelsman said. Ultrascan is trying to obtain the affected 1100 model to verify if the attack works as described, he said.

The Nokia 1100 has had other software problems. A drug-related criminal case in the Netherlands in late 2005 detailed how the police had difficulty linking SMSes sent from certain Nokia 1100 phones to a specific phone number. Police were, however, able to use other means to identify the general area in which the phones were used, which helped bolster their case, Engelsman said

News items in which Ultrascan or one of its liaisons was quoted. (in various languages)

(Suckers) Victims lost $9.3 billion to 419 scammers in 2009 - ARS Technica

Advance-fee fraud (AFF), also known as 419 scams and Nigerian scams, exploded in 2009, with victims losing more money than ever before. This is according to the latest analysis from Dutch investigation firm Ultrascan—a company that has been monitoring the activities of 419 scammers since 1996—which says that victims lost almost 50 percent more money in 2009 than 2008.

It's hard to believe that people are still falling for advance-fee fraud …

NIGERIA - RELATED FINANCIAL CRIME AND ITS LINKS WITH BRITAIN - CHATHAM HOUSE

Ultrascan, a Netherlands-based consultancy, is one of a small number of organizations that has tried to estimate the number and value of advance fee fraud scams worldwide. In an analysis of dozens of mostly rich countries, it concluded that the total losses to British companies and individuals in 2005 were $520 million, second only to the US at $720 million. It further estimated that 20 scam rings comprising, on average, dozens of members were active in the UK. The survey does not show the ‘complete advance fee fraud situation’: in most cases, its estimates are ‘low’ or ‘extremely low’

Some people argue that foreign countries, including Britain, should make a much bigger effortto gather intelligence on advance fee frauds, as well as other types of Nigeria-related crime. AsUltrascan, the Dutch consultancy, puts it, ‘everyone has a piece of the picture, but no-one has the full picture’.

The 419 Coalition, an anti-scam body, says countries should have a centralized, single place for submission of reports by those targeted by scams.

One Nigerian law enforcement officer warns that it is potentially catastrophic for Britain and other rich nations to ignore these frauds. They are the crude surface manifestation of criminal networks that flourish precisely because people dismiss them as not worthy of serious attention. ‘That was the mistake we made earlier,’ he says. ‘If there is no shift in this position,this problem will become something huge....

Download the full Africa Programme Report

THE CONTEMPORARY FACE OF ORGANISED CRIME IN AUSTRALIA - The Australian Crime Commision

The Australian Crime Commision  - ORGANISED CRIME IN AUSTRALIA - 2011

 .... Advance fee fraud is defined as any fraud requiring a victim to make payment/s in advance of the promised receipt of a large monetary or other material benefit. The extent of advance fee fraud in Australia has continually increased over the past years. There has been a recent increase in the number of advance fee fraud variations observed in Australia, with inheritance, lottery, romance and employment frauds increasing.

The size, sophistication and organisation of foreign-based entities involved in advance fee fraud have increased. Some groups exploit highly complex psychological triggers to target victims. International syndicates are also showing increasing signs of combining advance fee fraud with other offences such as identity crime, counterfeiting and, in some cases, drug trafficking.

It is difficult to accurately assess the total losses caused by advance fee fraud. Victim reporting is limited because of the embarrassment (and, in some cases, fear) attached to reporting such activity. Advance fee fraud losses by companies
and individuals in Australia are likely to be hundreds of millions of dollars.

Globally, victims of advance fee fraud lost an estimated US$9.3 billion in 2009, which is an increase from an estimated US$6.3 billion in 2008. The top three countries for advance fee fraud losses in 2009 were the US (US$2.1 billion), the UK (US$1.2 billion) and the People’s republic of China (US$936 million)....

Download - THE CONTEMPORARY FACE OF ORGANISED CRIME

Worldwide Slump Makes Nigeria's Online Scammers Work That Much Harder - Washington Post

Ultrascan Advanced Global Investigations in the Netherlands, which has a special department dedicated to 419 crimes, estimates conservatively that $4.3 billion was lost worldwide to 419 scams in 2007. Countries most victimized are the U.S., U.K. and Japan. Ultrascan's data comes from its own investigations, and it advises that the real figure is likely many times higher.

Online Scammers Work That Much Harder

Famous DJ's Credit Card Details for Sale - PCWorld

Armin Van Buuren is one of the world's most well-known trance music DJs. He also apparently has had his credit card details stolen.

Investigators with Ultrascan, a company that investigates credit card fraud and other kinds of online crime, were doing research on forums and systems used to sell credit card numbers

Catalog of Stolen Data

A potential buyer for stolen credit card details sees a greeting: "Hello welcome to ICQ bot. Press '1' for Russian. Press '2' for English." After pressing "2," users get three selections: "1. Buy CVV, 2. Checker 3. Account," according to a screen shot supplied by Ultrascan.

When CVV is selected, the buyer sees how many credit card details are available, sorted by country. From the screen shot, it was possible to see that some 19,046 U.S. card numbers are for sale, 7,843 from the U.K. and more from other countries such as France, Italy and the Netherlands. .....

Famous DJ Saved from Scam