SecurityBrief New Zealand logo
New Zealand's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Romanian nationals jailed for card skimming

By Shannon Williams
Fri 9 Oct 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Two Romanian nationals have been sent to jail in Auckland for card skimming.

They were sentenced in Auckland's District Court for importing and possessing card skimming equipment. The equipment was used to obtain credit card details of more than 122 New Zealanders, and to steal approximately $75,380 from many of them.

Ionut Alexandru Oprescu, 31, was sentenced to two years, five months imprisonment, and Victor Ionut Ghenadi, 36, was sentenced to three years imprisonment. 

They arrived in Auckland from Dubai in November 2019, and are believed to have ties with international criminal syndicates.

Both men were convicted for importing devices for a dishonest purpose, altering documents with intent to obtain by deception, manufacturing goods with intent to facilitate a crime involving dishonesty, and dishonestly using a document. Ghenadi was also convicted for money laundering. 

Customs commenced an investigation in January 2020 after a tip-off from a courier driver led to the seizure of two packages sent from London. The packages were declared as a musical box and a laptop without hard disk, but hid card skimming devices.

Quick action identified the two men, leading to a search of their place of residence in January 2020 and their subsequent arrest.

Oprescu was caught trying to hide items in the roof cavity when Customs and Police officers raided the mens rented Hobson street apartment. A large number of parts, tools and equipment used to make card skimming devices, a completed and functional skimming device, blank cards, and a card writer machine were also found.

Hidden inside Ghenadi's pillow were numerous cards such as Bonfire, Smiggle, JB Hi-Fi and Countdown / AA Smartfuel cards that were loaded with financial information linked to victims' credit cards. Ghenadi was caught at a local restaurant with a loaded Farmers card in his wallet, and a search of his rented car found the moulding clay used to assemble the skimming devices.

Electronic forensic analysis of the men's phones located images of various bank ATMs, and carpark and petrol station payment machines. A USB hard drive attached to a pinhole camera, found in the apartment, showed videos of people entering their pin access codes while using a machine.

Analysis of their computer recovered 122 bank card numbers, which provided evidence of the $75,380 that was stolen from many victims. In addition, bank deposit slips and chat conversations showed that between mid-December 2019 and mid-January 2020, $43,550 of the $75,380 was cashed and deposited into an account to be converted into cryptocurrency.

Customs investigations manager Bruce Berry says card skimming is a global problem.

"These men travelled to New Zealand with the sole purpose of committing fraud, and they had no qualms about stealing funds from hard-working New Zealanders," Berry says.

"Customs works closely with law enforcement and industry partners to prevent exactly this type of illegal behaviour. Quick and collaborative work by Customs and others ensured that many more innocent people did not lose their money," he says.

The two packages that hid the skimming devices were actually addressed to the homes of innocent occupiers, which is a common method used by criminals for smuggling illegal commodities such as drugs, tobacco and skimming equipment.

Berry says in this case a special thanks goes to the courier driver and company. The driver refused to hand over a package, when approached on the street by one of the men trying to collect it. The courier company then quickly alerted Customs, which triggered the investigation.

"Customs works closely with courier companies to ensure they are aware of known criminal behaviours. By advising Customs of suspicious deliveries, as occurred in this case, they have played an important part in helping to protect our communities."

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Employment
Tech job moves - Forcepoint, Malwarebytes, SolarWinds & VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 13-20, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Migration
Let’s clear the cloud visibility haze with app awareness
Increasingly, organisations are heading for the cloud, initiating new born-in-the-cloud architectures and migrating existing applications via ‘lift and shift’ or refactoring.
Story image
Remote Working
Successful digital transformation in the hybrid work era is about embracing shifting goalposts
As organisations embraced remote working, many discovered they lacked the infrastructure needed to support history’s first global load test of remote work capabilities.
Story image
Vectra AI
Understanding the weight on security leader’s shoulders, and how to shift it
Millions of dollars of government funding and internal budgets are being funnelled into cybersecurity to build resilience against sophisticated threats, indicating how serious this issue has become.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Physical security systems guide the hybrid workplace to new heights
Organisations are reviewing how data gathered from their physical security systems can optimise, protect and enhance their business operations in unique ways.
Story image
Data Protection
Barracuda launches new capabilities for API Protection
"Every business needs this type of critical protection against API vulnerabilities and automated bot attacks," Barracuda says.
Story image
Cybersecurity
BlackBerry offers Kaspersky replacement cybersecurity for the channel
BlackBerry advises that users of Kaspersky software in Australia and New Zealand undertake a rigorous risk analysis of their current security posture.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Datacom, Micro Focus, SnapLogic and VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 6-12, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Ransomware
Alarming surge in Conti Ransomware Group activity - report
A new report has identified a 7.6 per cent increase in the number of vulnerabilities tied to ransomware in Q1 2022.
Story image
Apricorn
Data backup plans inadequate, data still at risk - study
The Apricorn 2022 Global IT Security Survey revealed that while the majority organisations have data backup plans in place, data for many are at risk.
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
RedShield leverages AWS to scale cybersecurity services
"Working with AWS gives RedShield the ability to mitigate significant application layer DDoS attacks, helping leaders adopt best practices and security architectures."
Story image
Digital Transformation
How to modernise legacy apps without compromising security
At a time when digital transformation has become central to business, even the most important applications come with a ‘use-by’ date.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Noname Security partners with Netpoleon to target API issues
Specialist API security firm Noname Security has appointed Netpoleon as its distributor in Australia and New Zealand.
Story image
Ransomware
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Microsoft
PwC NZ unveils new Cloud Security Operations Center
PwC New Zealand has unveiled its new Cloud Security Operations Center for the entire Microsoft technology stack.
Story image
Qualys
Qualys updates Cloud Platform solution with rapid remediation
The new update is designed to enable organisations to fix asset misconfigurations, patch OS and third-party applications, and deploy custom software.
Story image
Ivanti
Ivanti and Lookout bring zero trust security to hybrid work
Ivanti and Lookout have joined forces to help organisations accelerate cloud adoption and mature their zero trust security posture in the everywhere workplace.
Story image
Cybersecurity
NCSC advisory highlights poor security configurations
The GCSB's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has released a cyber security advisory identifying commonly exploited controls and practices.
Darktrace
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
ForgeRock releases Autonomous Access solution powered by AI
ForgeRock has officially introduced ForgeRock Autonomous Access, a new solution that uses AI to prevent identity-based cyber attacks and fraud.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
AI-based email security platform Abnormal Security valued at $4B
"A new breed of cybersecurity solutions that leverage AI is required to change the game and stop the rising threat of sophisticated and targeted email attacks."
Story image
Supply chain
Jetstack promotes better security with supply chain toolkit
The web-based resource is designed to help organisations evaluate and plan the crucial steps they need to establish effective software supply chain security.
Story image
Phishing
Google reveals new safety and security measures for users
Google's new measures include automatic two step verification, virtual cards and making it easier to remove contact information on Google Search results.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
How to ensure ethical deployment of AI implementations
The increase in automation and machine technology such as AI and machine learning has unlocked a whole new level of scale and service to organisations. 
Story image
Cybersecurity
More than 40% of banks worried about cloud security - report
Publicis Sapient's new report finds security and the lack of cloud skills and internal understanding of business benefits are big obstacles for banks moving to the cloud.
Story image
SaaS
Absolute Software expands Secure Access product offering
Absolute Software is enhancing its Secure Access product portfolio, enabling minimised risk exposure and optimised user experiences in the hybrid working environment.
Story image
Phishing
KnowBe4 celebrates reaching 50,000 customers worldwide
KnowBe4 has reached the milestone of 50,000 customers, adding nearly 2,500 in the first quarter of 2022 alone.
Story image
Ransomware
Ingram Micro Cloud adds Bitdefender solutions to marketplace
Ingram Micro Cloud has announced the expanded availability of Bitdefender solutions on the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Updates from Google Workspace set to ease hybrid working troubles
Google Workspace has announced a variety of new features which will utilise Google AI capabilities to help make hybrid working situations more efficient and effective.
Story image
Cloud Security
Aqua Security createa unified scanner for cloud native security
“By integrating more cloud native scanning targets into Trivy, such as Kubernetes, we are simplifying cloud native security."
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Cybersecurity
The 'A-B-C' of effective application security
Software applications have been a key tool for businesses for decades, but the way they are designed and operated has changed during the past few years.
Story image
Workato
Workato unveils enhancements to enterprise automation platform
"The extra layer of protection with EKM, zero-logging, and hourly key rotation gives customers a lot more visibility and control over more sensitive data."
Story image
Cybersecurity
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
Cybersecurity
CyberArk launches $30M investment fund to advance security
CyberArk has announced the launch of CyberArk Ventures, a $30 million global investment fund dedicated to advancing the next generation of security disruptors.
Story image
Nozomi Networks
Nozomi Networks, Siemens reveal software integration
Nozomi Networks and Siemens have extended their partnership by embedding Nozomi Networks’ software into the Siemens Scalance LPE local processing engine.
Booster
Booster Innovation Fund. A fund of Kiwi ingenuity – for Kiwi investors.
Link image
Story image
Cybersecurity
Hard numbers: Why ambiguity in cybersecurity no longer adds up
As cybersecurity costs and risks continue to escalate, CEOs continue to struggle with what their investment in cyber protection buys. Getting rid of ambiguity becomes necessary.
Story image
Malware
New vulnerabilities found in Nuspire’s Q1 2022 Threat Report
“Threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics and these exploits tend to get industry attention, but the threat posed by older and attacks still persists."
Story image
Customer experience
Gartner recognises Okta for abilities in Access Management
Okta has announced it has been recognised as a Customers' Choice for the fourth time in a row in the Gartner Peer Insights "Voice of the Customer" report.
Story image
SaaS
Rubrik Security Cloud marks 'next frontier' in cybersecurity
"The next frontier in cybersecurity pairs the investments in infrastructure security with data security giving companies security from the point of data."
Story image
BeyondTrust
BeyondTrust integrates Password Safe solution with SailPoint
BeyondTrust has announced the integration of BeyondTrust Password Safe with SailPoint identity security offerings.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Managed service providers: effective scoping to avoid costly vendor pitfalls
Managed security services are outsourced services focusing on the security and resilience of business networks.
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.