HomeNewsBriefHacker Group Arrest in Colombia Points to Evolution of Cyber Crime
BRIEF

Hacker Group Arrest in Colombia Points to Evolution of Cyber Crime

COLOMBIA / 19 JUN 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Authorities in Colombia have dismantled a network of hackers accused of stealing over $5 million from electronic bank accounts, in a case that highlights the fast paced evolution of cyber crime and the potential profits it offers.

On June 17, Colombian police announced the capture of 12 alleged hackers from a group accused of stealing the financial information of 15,000 people and using their bank accounts to finance a social security scam.   

Police said three of the suspects sent out e-mails containing links to a spy program that copied bank account and password information from the recipient's computer. The other members of the group contacted businesses and offered to process the social security payments of their independent workers at a steeply discounted price. The group then used the stolen financial information to make social security payments from victims' bank accounts through an online payment program.        

In total, the hackers allegedly stole over $5.2 million from accounts affiliated with 11 different banks on the Caribbean Coast and in the cities of Cali, Bogota and Bucaramanga. The suspects were captured in the coastal cities of Barranquilla, Santa Marta and Cartagena.

InSight Crime Analysis

Cyber crime has become a serious problem throughout Latin America as law enforcement struggles to keep up with continually improving criminal technology and methods. Over half of companies in the region fell victim of some form of cyber attack in 2012 and the theft of confidential information reportedly costs banks in Latin America over $93 billion a year. 

In Colombia, six million people reportedly fall victim to cyber crimes every year. Government websites have also been targeted, with the hacker group Anonymous attacking the former intelligence agency's website in 2011 along with President Juan Manuel Santos' Facebook page and ex-President Alvaro Uribe's Twitter account.   

In an effort to crack down on cyber crime in the region, Microsoft announced the creation of an anti-cyber crime office in Colombia in 2013 aimed at combating online criminal networks. Governments throughout the region have taken steps to address this issue, with Peru updating its criminal code to reflect cyber threats and several countries developing specialized police units.    

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Cyber Crime

However, as demonstrated by this most recent case, which Colombian police said employed a new method to access bank accounts, the authorities face a stiff challenge in tackling cyber crime, as it is rapidly evolving, with new criminal networks and new techniques springing up constantly.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COCA / 20 FEB 2020

The arrest of suspected crime boss "El Contador," who is accused of being one of Colombia's most powerful traffickers, could…

COLOMBIA / 14 OCT 2011

Colombia's anti-narcotics police reported the discovery of one of the biggest cocaine production laboratories to be found in…

COCA / 9 JAN 2019

While traditional criminal organizations have widened their portfolios dramatically in recent years, drug trafficking remains the most important earner in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.