Two international computer hackers, Teodor Laurentiu Costea and Robert Codrut Dumitrescu, were extradited from Romania to face federal charges of wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, computer fraud and abuse, and aggravated identity theft.
From Romania, the defendants targeted victims throughout the U.S., stealing personal information and causing millions of dollars in losses. These extraditions send a strong warning to cybercriminals and fraudsters worldwide, that the US, along with their law enforcement partners will work non stop to bring cybercriminals to justice.
Nowadays FBI won’t let geographic boundaries stop them from pursuing and prosecuting the persons who cause them tremendous financial pain. Perpetrators of these crimes will no longer hide in the shadows of the internet.
Please keep in mind that anything can be hacked, many problems could be easily evaded if a robust cybersecurity solution is present on every device that you own. Depending on which version of OS is installed on your device it is imperative to install an antivirus for Windows or antivirus for Mac. Companies should also use the services of a cybersecurity firm to verify their internal network by running various tests like penetration test and ethical hacking tests.
The charges, and other information presented in court: From October 2011 until February 2014, Costea and Dumitrescu operated from Ploiesti, Romania. An investigation revealed that Costea and Dumitrescu identified vulnerable computers in the U.S., and installed interactive voice response software that would automatically interact with call recipients. In addition, the two hackers utilized computers in the Atlanta area to install software to initiate thousands of automated telephone calls and text messages to victims in Atlanta and around the country. The messages appeared to be from a financial institution and directed victims to call a telephone number due to a problem with their respective financial account.
When victims called the telephone number, they were prompted by the interactive voice response software to enter their bank account numbers, PINs, and full or partial Social Security numbers. The stolen account numbers were stored on the compromised computers and accessed by Costea and Dumitrescu, who then allegedly sold or used the fraudulently obtained information.
At the time of his arrest in Romania, Costea possessed 36,051 fraudulently obtained financial account numbers. The financial losses from the defendants’ scheme are estimated to be over $18 million.
Teodor Laurentiu Costea, 41, Robert Codrut Dumitrescu, 40, are both from Ploiesti, Romania. The charges result from the defendants’ alleged “vishing” and “smishing” attacks from Romania. “Vishing” is a type of phishing scheme that communicates a phishing message, that is, a message that purports to be from a legitimate source, in this case, the victims’ banks, through a voice recording. “Smishing” is similar to “vishing,” but communicates a phishing message through text messages.
Remember that only a robust cybersecurity solution can protect your device form all types of unwanted cyberattaks. The use of an active antivirus is mandatory. We strongly recommend to everyone to install an antivirus for Windows or antivirus for Mac, depending on which version of OS your devices run. If you are a company, please check your network integrity by hiring top cybersecurity firms to perform various tests like penetration test and ethical hacking tests at least once a year.