Hacking group operated from a prison to attack banks and scam people

Unfortunately, putting criminals behind bars does not guarantee that they will stop committing wrongdoing, as it has significantly increased the number of cybercriminal groups operating from inside prisons, in complicity with respective prison authorities.

Mexico’s Security Agency announced the dismantling of a network of cybercriminals made up of at least eight inmates. According to the report, this gang was engaged in extortion, malicious hacking and electronic fraud, all from inside the Prison and Social Reintegration Center of Santiaguito, Estado de Mexico.

Thanks to a deployment of intelligence activities, the Mexican cyber police detected signs of the operations of this cybercriminal group. The ensuing investigation led them inside the aforementioned prison, where they discovered that hackers managed a complex fraud structure, which includes the involvement of multiple actors operating outside the jail. 

In a cybersecurity report, Mexican authorities soon explained the scheme used by hackers, divided into three levels:

  • A group of hackers operating outside the prison was responsible for malware-infecting the networks of some government organizations and private companies to disrupt their regular functioning and justify non-existent transactions
  • The eight inmates involved were responsible for electronic fraud, mainly targeting financial firms
  • Finally, multiple accomplices outside the jail were in charge of operating a campaign of fraudulent online ads

The prompt intervention of the cyber police prevented hackers from realizing fraudulent transactions. Mexican authorities mention that the operation was devised by a hacker previously identified as “Hector N.”, who is being tracked.

During the operation, police seized seven smartphones, containing multiple social media profiles, used by criminals to communicate with the rest of the members of the hacking network. Fraudulent accounts were reported with the respective social media platforms. With regard to the prisoners participating in this fraud scheme, the prison authorities decided to move them to other areas of the prison with stricter surveillance measures. 

Security incidents can affect any technology user, in addition, given the ease with which a cybercriminal operation can be deployed; only users remain alert to any possible fraud attempt and protect their devices and online accounts to prevent the worst-case scenario.