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Daily Cybercrime Brief by Future Crime Researchers [25.04.2024]: Cryptocurrency scam, Cyber espionage, Stock Market Scam and more



Daily cyber crime news by FCRF

Cyber Cops Apprehend Suspect in Rs 1.10 Crore Cryptocurrency Scam

  • Santosh Thorat, accused of orchestrating a cryptocurrency scam defrauding investors of Rs 1.10 crores, has been apprehended by cybercrime authorities.
  • Thorat’s anticipatory bail plea was dismissed by the high court, prompting immediate police action resulting in his arrest.
  • Thorat and his associates allegedly promised investors 20% annual returns through a cryptocurrency called Sonitex, leading to the fraud charges.
  • After failing to meet bail conditions and changing contact details and residence, Thorat attempted to evade arrest but was eventually captured in Kharadi on April 23.
  • Authorities seek custodial interrogation to uncover additional accomplices and gather further evidence, seizing incriminating documents and materials during the probe, including mobile phones and office records.

ALSO READ: Join the Movement: Future Crime Research Foundation Launches State Chapters to Build a Cyber-Safe India


Exposed Documents Unveil Extensive Cyber-Espionage Operations by China

  • Documents from i-Soon, a Chinese cybersecurity firm associated with the country’s cybersecurity apparatus, reveal extensive cyber espionage operations.
  • The documents expose China’s funding of hackers to target various groups, including Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists, the Uyghur community, and the Tibetan exile administration in Dharamshala, India.
  • Soon allegedly attempted to breach the Dalai Lama’s office in India, indicating state involvement, with the Chinese Army and Police reported as major clients of the firm.
  • The revelation adds to longstanding concerns about China’s history of conducting espionage abroad, triggering diplomatic tensions, such as the crisis between China and the United States over a Chinese balloon entering American airspace.
  • US and British officials have accused Beijing of targeting lawmakers, academics, journalists, and defense contractors through cyber espionage, despite China’s denial of these allegations, suggesting a rise in cyberattacks linked to Chinese agencies.

Hyderabad Doctor Loses Rs.48 Lakh in Parcel Scam Fraud

  • A 34-year-old doctor in Hyderabad fell victim to fraudsters in a parcel scam, losing Rs.48 lakh, according to Hyderabad Cyber Crime Police.
  • The woman received a call purportedly from FedEx courier, informing her of a parcel from Malaysia to Delhi containing drugs. She was then coerced into a video call with a ‘CBI constable’ who sent an arrest warrant via WhatsApp.
  • The fraudsters compelled the victim to reveal her family, spouse, and banking details, threatening to break her Rs.25 lakh Fixed Deposits if she didn’t comply.
  • Under duress, the victim transferred Rs.48 lakh to the culprits’ account, believing it was for ‘fund legislation’ and assured refund post-verification.
  • Cybercrime police urged the public to report such incidents promptly, providing the Cyber Crime Helpline number- 1930 or visiting for assistance.

ALSO READ: Cyber Police Kashmir Zone Srinagar unveils major mule account racket in Kashmir valley; FIR registered

Retired Navy Officer Scammed of Rs.86.46 Lakh by Cyber Fraudsters Posing as Stock Market Investors

  • A 52-year-old retired Indian Navy officer files a complaint after allegedly losing Rs 86.46 lakh to unknown individuals promising stock market profits.
  • The victim was enticed by a fake application showing high profits from his investment but realized he was being swindled when attempting to withdraw funds.
  • Authorities registered a case under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act, citing criminal conspiracy, cheating, impersonation, and forgery.
  • The victim was introduced to a stock market investment group led by individuals claiming to be professors from a US-based multinational company. They promised cash dividends and substantial profits.
  • The fraud unraveled when the victim sought further withdrawals and was asked to pay exorbitant taxes. Sensing fraud, he contacted authorities, leading to an ongoing investigation to trace the perpetrators.

MHA Plans Launch of New Center to Combat Cyber Financial Fraud in Real Time: Details Revealed

  • MHA plans to launch CFMC under Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre (I4C) post Lok Sabha elections to combat rising cyber financial fraud.
  • CFMC aims to streamline efforts by bringing together stakeholders like banks, telecom companies, IT firms, social media platforms, and law enforcement under one roof to facilitate real-time coordination.
  • CFMC’s centralized approach intends to eliminate communication delays, enabling faster response to cyber-enabled financial crimes by enhancing cooperation among stakeholders.
  • Seamless cooperation is expected to reduce financial losses by approximately 11%, aiding in faster recovery of stolen funds for victims.
  • CFMC complements existing efforts such as the Citizen Financial Cyberfrauds Reporting and Management System (CFCFRMS) within the National Cybercrime Reporting Portal (NCRP), showcasing the government’s commitment to combat cyber financial fraud effectively.

Telangana Police Officers Face Cyber Terrorism Charges in Phone-Tapping Scandal

  • Telangana police have charged four officers with cyber terrorism in a phone-tapping case, marking a first for police personnel.
  • The accused include former Special Intelligence Bureau DSP D. Praneeth Rao, and other senior officers who allegedly tapped phones of opposition leaders.
  • The primary victims were opposition politicians, including the current Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy, during the tenure of the previous government.
  • Charges are based on misuse of surveillance powers for tapping phones and closely monitoring prominent individuals.
  • A memo has been filed in court to apply section 66 F of the Information Technology Act, which involves severe penalties including life imprisonment.

Retired Director Victimized by Fake Law Enforcement Scammers

  • A retired MNC director in Mumbai lost Rs 25 crore in a sophisticated cyber fraud, where imposters posed as law enforcement.
  • The fraud began with a fake call from the “telecom department,” claiming her mobile numbers would be deactivated.
  • She was falsely informed by a “police officer” that she was involved in a money laundering investigation.
  • The caller, posing as a CBI officer, coerced her into selling assets including shares and mutual funds, and taking a gold loan to meet their demands.
  • The victim, a senior citizen from the western suburbs, was manipulated into transferring substantial funds to the scammers.

Gurgaon IT Manager Falls Victim to Rs 5.3 Lakh Stock Market Scam, Police Investigate

  • An IT firm manager in Gurgaon was tricked into investing Rs 5.3 lakh in a fraudulent stock market scheme via a WhatsApp group.
  • After initially allowing him to withdraw most of his investment, fraudsters ceased contact and blocked his investment account.
  • He later learned from cyber police across various states that his withdrawals were funded by money from other cybercrimes.
  • He has been asked to return the withdrawn funds and a lien has been placed on his bank account, freezing his funds.
  • The Manesar cyber police have registered a case under Section 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code against the fraudsters.


Czech and Ukrainian Police Crack Down on $1.2 Million Banking Fraud Gang

  • Czech and Ukrainian law enforcement agencies uncovered a criminal gang in Odesa, Ukraine, that defrauded people by impersonating bank officials and convincing them to transfer money to fake “rescue accounts.”
  • The criminals also tricked victims into installing remote access software on their computers, allowing them to steal directly from online banking accounts.
  • Over 150 calls were made by the fraudsters between 2022 and 2023, resulting in nearly 30 million Czech crowns ($1.2 million) in damages.
  • Authorities conducted over 100 police officers involved in raids across Ukraine and Czechia, arresting nine people including the gang’s organizer and a key recruiter.
  • Seized items include computer equipment, mobile phones, luxurious cars, and other valuables; criminals laundered money through cryptocurrency and invested in luxury items.

US Charges Four Iranians in Major Cyber Espionage Case

  • The US has charged and sanctioned four Iranian nationals linked to Iran’s military for cyber attacks on US companies and government departments, using fake companies as fronts.
  • The individuals worked for companies like Mehrsam Andisheh Saz Nik (MASN) and another affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which the US designated as a foreign terrorist organization in 2019.
  • They engaged in spearphishing and social engineering from 2016 to 2021 to infiltrate US defense contractors and access classified information.
  • The attackers utilized malware and fake identities, primarily posing as women, to compromise targets and propagate further attacks.
  • The main suspects face up to 35 years in prison if caught, though extradition is unlikely as they are based in countries that typically do not extradite to the US.


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