FBI, CIDG bust Manila hackers group linked to JI terrorists

pinas balita: FBI, CIDG bust Manila hackers group linked to JI terrorists
PNA *Original Link

MANILA, Nov. 24 (PNA) -- Joint operatives from the Philippine National Police (PNP)-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) busted Thursday a group of Filipino hackers whose operation is allegedly being financed by a Saudi Arabia-based terrorist group.
PNP-CIDG director Director Samuel D Pagdilao Jr. said the operation stemmed from the complaint of AT&T, a US-based telecommunication company and the FBI regarding the activities of Filipino hackers who hacked the system of AT&T.
The hacking activity resulted to almost US$ 2-million in losses incurred by the company.
Pagdilao said that armed with several search warrants, members of the CIDG’s Anti-Transnational and Cyber Crime Division (ATCCD) and FBI agents struck at several target areas in Metro Manila that resulted in the arrests of four suspects and the confiscation of computer and telecommunication equipment believed to be used by the suspects in their hacking activities.

ATCCD chief, Police Senior Superintendent Gilbert Sosa identified the arrested suspects as Macnell Gracilla, 31, a native of Carmen Rosales, Pangasinan and resident of Unit 5, Monteville Place, Greenville Subdivision, Sauyo, Quezon City; Francisco Manalac, 25, and his live-in partner Regina Balura, 21, both of # 89 Sampaguita Extension, East Bagong Barrio, Calooocan City, and Paul Michael Kwan, 29, of # 21 Hebrew St., West Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City.
Sosa added that prior to Kwan’s arrest, the suspect has been arrested in 2007 by Philippine authorities following the international crackdown launched by the FBI against suspected terrorist cells involved in financing terrorist activities.
Sosa said that FBI agents who have been investigating incessant hacking of telecommunication companies in the US and in the country since 1999 have uncovered paper trail of various bank transactions linking the local hackers to the Saudi Arabia-based cell whose activities include financing terrorist activities.
Sosa said that in 2007, FBI operatives have arrested Pakistani Jemaah Islamiyah member Muhammad Zamir in Italy. Zamir’s group, who was later tagged by the FBI to be the financial source of the terrorist attack in Mumbai, India in November 26, 2008, is also the same group that paid Kwan’s group of hackers in Manila.
Sosa said that Kwan and the other hackers in Manila were being used by the Zamir’s terrorists group to hack the trunk-line (PBX) of different telecommunication companies including the AT&T.
Revenues derived from the hacking activities of the Filipino hackers were diverted to the account of the terrorists, who paid the Filipino hackers on a commission basis via local banks.
After Zamir’s arrest in 2007, a Saudi-national took the helm of the operation of the group, who also maintained its link with the group of Filipino hackers based in Manila.
On March 2011, FBI authorities requested the CIDG-ATCCD assistance after they found out that the group has targeted the AT&T in the US and that the same group of Filipino hackers is involved.
Pagdilao said that the recent arrest of Filipino hackers tied to a group involved in financing terrorist activities should serve as a wake-up call to legislators to speed-up the passage of the Cyber Crime Prevention Bill now pending in Congress in order to address proactively the threat of cyber crime terrorists who have made the country their base of operations. (PNA)

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