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

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

One analyst was using the ICQ instant messaging system where cybercriminals had set up an automated account to sell credit card numbers. Their ICQ user name was run by a bot, which automatically responds to certain commands.

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.

After picking the Netherlands, the bot offered up the truncated details for four cards and the names of those cardholders, one of which was named "Armin Van Buuren."

The Ultrascan researchers immediate recognized Van Buuren's name. They bought his card details, and the bot returned the DJs full credit card number, the three-digit security code on the back of the card and the name of his bank.

Ultrascan contacted Van Buuren's management agency in the Netherlands. An official at the management agency on Friday confirmed they had been contacted.

Saved from Scam

It's not known if his credit card details were ever used, but Engelsman said cybercriminals typically do not "double sell" details. The details cost US$6, Engelsman said. UItrascan does not normally buy stolen credit card details but did in that case to prevent Van Buuren's from being used, he said.

From the format of the data, it appears that a database of credit card numbers was hacked, Engelsman said. Credit card companies, retailers and other data processors have taken steps in recent years to shore up the security of their processing systems to prevent such attacks, but data breaches still occur.

Englesman said Van Buuren's credit card company called Ultrascan on the DJ's instruction, and Ultrascan informed the company of the problem. (See also "Identity-Theft Protection: What Services Can You Trust?")

Van Buuren's situation is hardly unique. Computer security analyst for years have warned how cybercrime has turned into an underground economy, with hackers stealing credit card numbers and offering them for sale in forums where other fraudsters that specialize in abusing financial details.

"Everybody can be a victim," Engelsman said. "It doesn't matter who you are."

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Famous DJ's Credit Card Details for Sale - PCWorld

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