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Northern Ireland man arrested in global cyber crime probe

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The website provided criminals with people's personal details

The website provided criminals with people's personal details

PA

The website provided criminals with people's personal details

A suspected cyber fraudster in Co Tyrone believed to have earned £200,000 selling personal details to criminals has been arrested as part of an international policing operation.

The 22-year-old from Fintona was traced to a website which provided cyber criminals access to over 12 billion personal details for as little as $2 a day.

He was arrested on Wednesday by the PSNI on suspicion of fraud and serious crime offences and has since been bailed.

Another 22-year-old man was arrested in Vriendin in the Netherlands by Dutch authorities.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) began investigating the website, which is believed to host credentials taken from around 10,000 data breaches in August 2019.

The data was then used in further cyber attacks in the UK, Germany and the US.

Information from the NCA was passed to the PSNI and the East Netherland Cyber Crime Unit (Politie) who launched their own operations.

Parallel investigations were also being run by German Federal investigators (BKA) and the FBI, who froze the website on the same day as the arrests.

Online payments on the site were traced to the IP address of the two men accused of running the site, which the NCA say shows they were “heavily involved” in the running of the site.

Andrew Shorrock, senior investigating officer at the NCA, said the illegal website had become an “extremely valuable” part of a cyber criminal toolkit which has since been shut down by international agencies.

“Cyber crime is a threat that crosses borders and therefore close international collaboration is crucial to tackling it,” he added.

The data on the site was the result of 10,000 breaches, with criminals exploiting the fact that people often duplicate their passwords on multiple sites.

Detective Superintendent Richard Campbell, head of the PSNI’s Cyber Crime Centre, yesterday praised the joint policing operation, saying: “Let this be a clear warning there is no hiding place for cyber criminals.”

Belfast Telegraph