Bulgarian hacker accused of stealing thousands of dollars from Bill Gates arrested in Philippines
Konstantin Simeonov Kavrakov, 32, was caught red-handed by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) on Thursday as he was attempting to withdraw cash from an ATM system using fraudulent cards.
Fraudster had nine stolen cards on him
Kavrakov was featured in the press before, when he got arrested and jailed in 2011 in Asunción, Paraguay, for the same type of activity. He was part of a group called by the media Super Hacker Bulgarian Group, whose actions are reported to have begun as far back as 2004.
The press coverage received at that time was due to the arrest of Kolarov Aleksey Petrov (nicknamed “king of hackers” in his native country), who was involved in an operation that led to cloning the payment card of Bill Gates and stealing thousands of dollars from it.
At the time of the arrest on Thursday, Kavrakov had on him nine credit cards belonging to different individuals and a bag with 76,000 Philippine pesos ($1,700 / €1,600).
According to some sources, he tried to bribe the arresting officers by offering them $12,000 / €11,300 to let him go.
Card cloning is not new, but crooks grew more organized
Cloning payment cards is an old robbery technique employed by cybercriminals across the world, who usually get the necessary information for creating a fake card from underground forums.
The underground community has become extremely organized and there are groups specialized in stealing the card data and selling it online to crooks that already have a scheme for getting the cash out of the ATMs.
Most of the times, the card data is obtained by compromising point-of-sale (PoS) systems of various merchants. However, it can also be captured on special devices mounted out of view on ATM systems.
If stolen from PoS, the details are exfiltrated to the hackers, who may sell it for quick money and to avoid unnecessary risks; alternatively, the same group may have control over the hackers, those who clone the cards and the individuals that withdraw the money.