How does cell phone money laundering work?

In Russia, most cell phone SIM cards are prepaid. One of the major Russian operators offers a legal service that allows anyone to transfer the prepaid amount of money from a SIM card to a bank account, a credit card, another cell phone number (via a text message) or to express money transfer service Unistream.

This particular service is heavily misused by cyber crooks who use it to launder money collected through ransomware campaigns, mobile malware and SMS scam campaigns.

In this podcast recorded at Virus Bulletin 2011, Kaspersky Lab’s Denis Maslennikov takes us though the steps of each of these types of scams and shares insights into the shady economy that has sprung up due to cyber criminals’ need to get their hand on the collected money without leaving a direct trail.

Listen to the podcast here.

Denis Maslennikov joined Kaspersky Lab at the beginning of 2007. Working initially as a Virus Analyst, he quickly rose to became a Senior Malware Analyst in the Antivirus Lab, and then Head of the Mobile Research Group.

Currently, Denis is a Senior Malware Analyst with the company’s Global Research and Analysis Team and is responsible for monitoring the threat landscape, with particular emphasis on mobile malware, attacks on social networking sites, Instant Messenger threats and ICQ spam.

Denis holds a Diploma in Information Security from the Russian State University of Humanities.

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