Russian Hackers Use 'Sleeper Bugs' ToEmpty Accounts

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WASHINGTON - (03/10/06) -- Federal law enforcement agencies areclosing in on a number of Russian gangs they say are responsiblefor a variety of Internet hacking that is draining funds from and credit union accounts. In numerous Internet chat roomsRussian hackers are offering stolen credit card numbers and PINsfor use with counterfeit cards that have been used to loot creditunion and bank accounts in recent months. And last month, Russianthieves used so-called sleeper bugs to take control of and emptymore than one million euros from personal bank accounts in France.Police say the virus is embedded in emails or websites and remainsdormant until the user contacts their credit union or bank online.When that happens, the bug becomes active and records passwords andbank codes which are then forwarded to the thieves. They then usethe information to check if the victim has money in the accountbefore transferring funds to the accounts of third parties, knownas mules. More than a dozen Russian and several Ukrainian thieveshave been arrested in the scam in Moscow and St.Petersburg.

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