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How Cell Phone Money Laundering Works

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the insert-tab-a-into-phone-b dept.

Cellphones 39

Orome1 writes "In Russia, most cell phone SIM cards are prepaid. One of the major Russian operators offers a legal service that allows anyone to transfer the prepaid amount of money from a SIM card to a bank account, a credit card, another cell phone number (via a text message) or to express money transfer service Unistream. This particular service is heavily misused by cyber crooks who use it to launder money collected through ransomware campaigns, mobile malware and SMS scam campaigns. Kaspersky Lab's Denis Maslennikov takes us though the steps of each of these types of scams and shares insights into the shady economy that has sprung up due to cyber criminals' need to get their hand on the collected money without leaving a direct trail."

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what do you want to bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38016888)

that Denis Maslennikov's life could be ruined by an equals sign and an online handle?

Tjere must be (-1, Offtopic)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38016918)

an In Soviet Russia joke here somewhere

Re:Tjere must be (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017082)

In Soviet Russia, cell phones use you!

Re:Tjere must be (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38020100)

Bah! Amateur, let an old guy show you how its done..

In Soviet Russia Money Launders YOU!

These kids today I swear, no respect for tradition, no respect at all. Next thing you know they'll be just linking to a page that says "Goatse goes here" and using fill in the blank for shit eater trolls...damned lazy kids, get off my lawn!

Money Laundering (4, Informative)

dracocat (554744) | more than 2 years ago | (#38016934)

I don't think money laundering means what you think it does. They do use the Cell Phones to transfer money, but has nothing to do with the laundering of the money. According to the 7 minute audio, they STILL need to use the services of money launderers.

Re:Money Laundering (3, Funny)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38018630)

I can't believe what a bunch of nerds we are. We're looking up " money laundering" in a dictionary.

Re:Money Laundering (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026278)

I can't believe what a bunch of nerds we are. We're looking up " money laundering" in a dictionary.

Wash and rinse 10 percent
Iron 1 percent
Perfume and blow dry 1 percent

How Anal Bleaching Works (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38016936)

It happened when I was 19, a guy I met a guy in my College library took to his dorm and turned me around having pulled pants down. I figured he wanted to eat me doggystyle, when he stuck his tongue up my anus...

7 years later and more than 30 partners of all shades; half of whom have performed analingus on me, has me thinking its perhaps the new cunnilingus and 10 years time it will be part of foreplay.

PS: I return the favour.

Your thoughts.

Re:How Anal Bleaching Works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38018204)

Ewwww!

In Soviet Russia... (-1, Offtopic)

monzie (729782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38016944)

..... SIM uses you?

.... cellphone provider pays you?

OK, I'm not good at this. Someone please chip in.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017158)

"Reverse Engineer is credit to team!"

Well, I tried... convert credits to sandvich, perhaps?

Jokefail.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017328)

...laundering your phone means profit!

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

Electrode (255874) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017352)

Laundering my phone usually means buying a new phone.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017516)

In Soviet Russia misused service launders YOU!

Something similar can happen anywhere - I have a pre-paid mobile and receive the odd text spam now and then. Well, one wasn't harmless, it docked my account minutes and the outfit actually was collecting through T-mobile from my bank of minutes converted to money.

Beware a text spam signing you up (this was some crap called Love Genie Tips [smswatchdog.com] ) and keep tabs on your balance - too bloody easy for these people to charge you with the mobile phone companies effectively helping.

Text please (2)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 2 years ago | (#38016966)

Jesus fucking Christ. At least link to a real article that I can read. Not some "podcast" of someone mumbling with a heavy Russian accent.

Re:Text please (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017128)

At least everyone can say they didn't *listen* to the article...

Re:Text please (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017360)

In Soviet Russia, mumbling owns you?

Re:Text please (1)

Clsid (564627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017478)

It's not so much the Russian accent but the freaking podcast. It's like listening to a radio station with a boring program.

Re:Text please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047598)

It's not so much the Russian accent but the freaking podcast. It's like listening to a radio station with a boring program.

I believe that's called NPR.

Seriously? (4, Informative)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38016998)

A fucking podcast? All the summary was a copy paste hatchet job from the linked article where I'd have to listen to the whole podcast to get any information.

Thanks, but no thanks. How much did they pay you to post this crap?

Re:Seriously? (3, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017022)

How much did they pay you to post this crap?

Nothing, timothy's job is to find the most retarded, ass backwards, blatently wrong submissions possible, the post them with a summary written as if it were pure fact, but ended with a question mark.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Calydor (739835) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017184)

And he couldn't even do that right. No question mark at the end of the summary.

huh? (1, Offtopic)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017054)

Well I live in the US and its hard to reconcile this odd concept of money "laundering"? How does one launder speech? Silly russians not recognizing that money is speech.!

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017112)

I'm Laundering speech right now.

Re:huh? (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017284)

Well met. I guess in terms of bitchslaps from the final boss of the Internet, I should consider myself lucky.

Ingenius way of laundering money (3, Interesting)

Cito (1725214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017098)

This is an ingenius service, there are similar scams going on in Second Life.

there are charities and fake sob stories just as ones mentioned in the podcast above. Or people get malware/keyloggers and hackers gain access to their second life accounts and either people under guise of charity or by hack have their 'lindens' transferred out to bot accounts. lindens is also the name of the in world currency. And second life offers a linden exchange where they convert all lindens to us dollars and transfer it to paypal. usually ay a 266-270 linden to $1 conversion rate.

I myself sell scripts in second life to augment my income and through scripts and real estate renting to others I transfer about 300-500 us dollars per month to paypal then on to my bank account.

but I've heard many horror stories of hackers doing the exact same tricks mentioned in the podcast in Second life for stealing then laundering the cash out.

get cash! (1)

lemur3 (997863) | more than 2 years ago | (#38020236)

you could theoretically use second life to get cash from your credit card without paying any outrageous fee or interest..... well at least in the past you could

First Clue (1)

Xibby (232218) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017116)

If you get a SMS message in Russian...

Obligatory Office Space Reference (0)

tjhayes (517162) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017118)

I can't believe what a bunch of nerds we are. We're looking up "money laundering" in a dictionary.

Getting more common (2)

Fex303 (557896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017334)

I hear there's a lot of this kind of stuff going on in the Torgai Hills...

Re:Getting more common (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017672)

....sssshh.... Timothy is actually Neal. This thread is viral marketing for the latest book.

Step 1... (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017340)

How Cell Phone Money Laundering Works

OK, let me get all this down...

1. Get some cell phones
2. Get some Russians
3. ...
4. Profit!

I know the Chinese are getting all the pub, but you've got to admit, there's nothing like Russians for true financial market innovation.

Transcription because WTF? podcasts?? (5, Informative)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017342)

Hello, my name is Denis Maslennikov and I'm a senior malware analist at Kaspersky Lab. In this Helpnet Security podcast I will talk about cellphone money laundering and how savvy criminals in Russia launder money from the real SIM cards and real cellphones.

The vast majority of cellphone SIM cards in Russia are prepaid. One of the major Russian cellphone operators, Beeline, operates a fully legal service which allows anyone who uses an operator's SIM card to to transfer the prepaid amount of money from the SIM card to a credit card to a bank account to Unistream (it's some kind of Western Union analogue) and to another cellphone number, by sending a special SMS message to a short, free, number.

You know, today it's hard to imagine life without a cellphone - if somebody leaves their home and forgets their watch, he or she won't come back. But if, for example, I forget my cellphone, I will definitely come back.

There are a lot of SIM cards in Russia - the number of SIM cards [is] even bigger than the number of people who live in our country.

People started to use this legal service in order to, for example.. if somebody cannot make a call to his child, he can transfer some money to [the] child's cellphone number and then simply dial. Such comfortable and legal services are always used by savvy criminals.

After some time of the appearance of this service, savvy criminals started to use this service illegally - how do they do it?

There are three main types of cellphone number replenishing;
They can, for example, create malware which blocks a computer and asks to pay [a] ransom, but to pay ransom with the help of replenishing a concrete cellphone number with a certain amount of money.
The second way is to create mobile malicious programs, SMS trojans, which will send a specialized SMS message to operator's short free number - but this SMS message will transfer money from the infected phone to the savvy criminal's cellphone number.
And the third way, which is also very popular, is to create an SMS fancampaign with some kind of, say, fishy text, asking, for example... claiming "you won the lottery, in order to get your prize, please send an SMS message to this short free number with the following text" - and the text contains the cellphone number to transfer money [to] and the amount of money.

These three activities are now, let's say, really popular - and it's hard to say which one of them is the most popular one. Ransomware is, like, one pillar, SMS trojans is the second pillar, and SMS scam campaigns [are] some kind of third pillar.

So let's talk more about all these activities in details.

If you talk about ransomware, the first examples of such ransomware appeared in [the] very beginning of 2010, so it's like almost 2 years. And they continue to evolve, they continue to infect users, personal computers and as usual pornography is the main source of such applications. Fake pornographic websites - the user clicks [on] the link if he wants to watch a fake video surely he'll be asked to download a special application, a codec, as it claims, but in fact it would be a malicious application which will blow up [the] screen and asks to pay ransom.

If we talk about the mobile malware, it's usually spready by SMS spam. Users usually normally receive a message claiming that "hey, you received an MMS card, an MMS present, from the girl named 'Kate'[?]" (the most popular name in all these SMS spam campaigns). If the user downloads this malicious application and launches it, he will lose some amount of money from his SIM card; because the money will be transferred from his SIM card to [the] cyber criminal's SIM card.

And if we talk about SMS scam campaigns.. in this case, cyber criminals use real-life examples in order to force users to transfer money from one account to another. Sometimes they use really sad and bad real-life examples, like [the] Moscow underground bombing or terrorist attack in Domodedovo Airport in Moscow, after some time of these attacks, people start to receive SMS scam messages saying "hey, I'm an underground police, transfer money to this SIM card, I will call you back later". Cyber criminals use such cases to earn money illegally, again.

Finally, when the receive some money by replenishing their, say, malicious SIM cards, they need to launder the money. So they need to make it cash. Transferring money from the SIM card to a credit card or to a bank account or to some kind of Unistream is not an option for cyber criminals because it will leave trails and they can be easily found by police forces or by a cellphone operators. That's why they use other guys - other, let's say, criminals - who order [offer] the service of laundering money. They contact them and these guys use carded credit cards, fake bank accounts, to launder money. In fact, they take their commission from 10% to 30% of the amount of the laundered money.

That's all, there's your money, they're happy, people are fooled, and such activities continue to evolve, they continue to exist right now, because usually cyber criminals buy not one or two SIM cards, they buy hundreds of SIM cards. It's very easy to find and to buy anonymous [unintelligible] real big bunch of SIM cards and to use them in such illegal activities.

1-900 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017350)

I could start my own phone sex line where all the girls names are aliases for secret bank accounts. Dial in, pick your "girl", pick your level of dirty, and either listen to the prerecorded smut or leave the phone off the hook for the time you use. The line bills the phone company, pay your phone bill, et voila, the "girls" get their money.

Girl = Account
Dirty = Increment ($ per minute: tame = $10, feisty = $20, dirty pirate hooker = $50, 2girls1cup = $100, Cheryl Tunt = $500)

And then you could get money back by "sponsoring a girl" where you pay a flat fee to become a partner for a share of the profits off the line (except that some lines never profit ;) )

"Siri, how do I launder money?" (2, Funny)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017384)

Mumble a lot in Russian.
???
Money.

SO GLAD you TOLD ME (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017824)

I'm glad I came across this Slashdot article... it saved me and my friends (Samir and Michael Bolton) from having to look up "money laundering" in the dictionary!

--Peter G

Mounted wooden facade (1)

domstroi (2505744) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027464)

Yesterday mounted wooden facade [domstroi.com.ua] comrade. It seems to have done everything correctly, but the next day everything collapsed. No luck.

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