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Australian jailed for sophisticated phishing fraud

12 January 2005  |  6148 views  |  0 Sydney2

A 21-year old Sydneysider has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for organising a global Internet banking scam that used high school students as money laundering mules.

Derek Cheng was one of 13 people arrested earlier this month following a police swoop on a gang which used bogus online adverts and spam e-mails to install keylogging Trojans on user computers. Up to A$600,000 is known to have been looted from victim's bank accounts and transferred to accounts in Russia.

The gang recruited four Australian high school students, aged 15 to 17, and used their accounts as staging posts for illegal money transfers before moving the funds overseas.

The scam reveals the increasing sophistication of the fraudsters and the growing trend for the use of Trojan spyware to prey on unwitting computer users.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, says: "Criminal gangs are getting more and more sophisticated with their tricks to make millions of pounds out of innocent people; tempting naive teenagers with the opportunity of making a quick buck is another one of their schemes."

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