The Public Prosecution Service within the Netherlands [Dutch: Openbaar Ministerie] has simply launched details about an unnamed suspect arrested again in December 2022 for allegedly stealing and promoting private knowledge about tens of hundreds of thousands of individuals.
The victims are stated to dwell in international locations as far aside as Austria, China, Columbia, the Netherlands itself, Thailand and the UK.
Apparently, the courts have taken a strict strategy to this case, successfully conserving the arrest secret from late 2022 till now, and never permitting the suspect out on bail.
In keeping with the Ministry’s report, a court docket order about custody was made in early December 2022, when the authorities got permission to maintain the suspect locked up for an extra 90 days, that means that they’ll maintain him till no less than March 2023 as work on his case continues.
The suspect is being investigated for a number of offences: possessing or publishing “personal” knowledge, possessing phishing software program and hacking instruments, laptop hacking, and cash laundering.
The prosecutors declare that he laundered near half-a-million Euros’ value of cryptocurrency throughout 2022, so we’re assuming that the court docket thought-about him a flight danger, determined that if launched he may be capable to destroy proof and, presumably, thought that he may attempt to warn others within the cybercrime boards the place he’d been lively to start out protecting their tracks, too.
Intriguingly, the investigation was triggered by the looks on a cybercrime discussion board of a multi-million document stash of non-public knowledge regarding Austrian residents.
These knowledge data, it appears, turned out to have a standard supply: the corporate liable for amassing radio and TV licence charges in Austria.
Austrian cops apparently went undercover to purchase up a replica of the stolen knowledge for themselves, and within the means of doing so (their investigative strategies, unsurprisingly, weren’t revealed) recognized an IP quantity that was someway linked to the username they’d handled on the darkish net.
That IP quantity led to Amsterdam within the Netherlands, the place the Dutch police took the investigation additional.
Because the Dutch Ministry writes:
The group has robust indications that the suspect was working beneath that person title and that he had, for a very long time, been providing personal private knowledge – together with affected person knowledge from medical data – on the discussion board for fee beneath that title. […]
With the theft of enormous quantities of digital knowledge, combining completely different databases and buying and selling entry to this knowledge, increasingly more criminals know the place an individual lives, performs financial institution transactions, what automotive they’ve, what their password is, what cellphone numbers they’ve, the place they work, go to highschool and so on. The place it was once mandatory to look at individuals for weeks to establish the correct sufferer, now a push of a button suffices.
We’ll let you recognize if and once we study extra about this case.
We all know for positive that the Dutch police and prosecutors are usually not going to lose curiosity, as a result of the Ministry concludes its annoucement with these phrases:
This sort of felony exercise not solely grossly violates the privateness of hundreds of thousands of individuals but in addition causes monetary harm to people and companies. Police and prosecutors are dedicated to combating this complicated type of crime by detecting and prosecuting cybercriminals.
However we are able to’t assist questioning whether or not the Austrian radio and TV licence charge assortment firm may appeal to the curiosity of investigators of various type, this time from the Austrian knowledge safety regulators slightly than the police.
Though firms that undergo breaches are undeniably cybercrime victims themselves, they generally find yourself in authorized bother of their very own if the regulator types the opinion that they may and will have achieved extra to guard their clients.
In any case, because the Dutch prosecutors level out, it’s the people whose knowledge really will get stolen who’re the first victims right here.