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

COLOMBIA / 31 AUG 2012

Colombian police said they had captured the head of extortion for the FARC’s Eastern Bloc, highlighting the guerrilla group's renewed…

COLOMBIA / 15 OCT 2014

Authorities in Colombia have dismantled three child prostitution rings -- including one allegedly involving a beauty queen -- highlighting a…

COLOMBIA / 14 JUN 2017

Colombia's flourishing illegal gold mining business requires explosives, many of which are sourced illicitly. This essential yet overlooked trade has…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…