Cosmos Bank malware attack: 11 suspects found guilty by a Pune court

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In the Cosmos Bank cyber fraud case, where hackers used malware to steal more over Rs 94 crore over two days in 2018, a court in Pune, Maharashtra, convicted 11 people guilty.

FahimShaikh and Mohammad SaeedIqbalHussainJafari of Bhiwandi, Fahim Khan and Shaikh Mohammed Abdul Jabbar of ChhatrapatiSambhajinagar, Mahesh Rathod of Nanded, NareshMaharana of Palghar, U A Waz alias Anthony, Bashir Ahmed and FerozShaikh of Mumbai, and Abdulla Shaikh and Salman Baig of Thane have been found guilty.

“The lawyer of the accused said that the accused have been languishing in jail for many years and their period of incarceration must be taken into account while sentencing. However, the prosecutor stated that taking into account the serious nature of the crime, maximum punishment must be awarded. Heard both sides, taking into account the condition of the accused, I am of the opinion of a lesser sentence for the accused. They have spent considerable time in jail and in the interest of justice, it is not appropriate to repeat the years already spent in prison,” the prescribed order.

RamnathPokale, a second police commissioner, said: “We had strong digital evidence against the accused and it was submitted before the court. The court accepted our evidence which led to the conviction of the 11 arrested accused in the case.”

According to a malware complaint made on August 14 by Cosmos Cooperative Bank, unidentified hackers stole 94.42 crore through internet transfers and ATM withdrawals.

When numerous cloned debit cards from Cosmos Bank were used for thousands of ATM transactions from India and 28 other countries over seven hours on August 11, 2018, the malware case was one of the largest cyberattacks on an Indian bank at the time.

While more than 12,000 ATM withdrawals totaling roughly Rs 78 crore were made outside of India, another set of 2,800 transactions totaling Rs 2.5 crore were performed in various locations inside the nation.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) service was also used to transfer an additional Rs 13.92 crore on August 13, 2018, to a Hong Kong-based organization. According to the police investigation, Visa cards were used for purchases outside of India while RuPay cards were used for transactions within India.

This case, which was reported to the Chaturshringi police station under the provisions of sections 120B, 420, 467, 468, 469, 471, and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the pertinent provisions of the Information Technology Act, a total of Rs 94 crore was embezzled.

The police detained 18 suspects from Kolhapur, Ajmer, Indore, and Mumbai after conducting an investigation. With the use of CCTV evidence and a technical investigation, the police submitted a chargesheet to the court.

PradeepDeshpande, additional commissioner of police, deputy commissioner of police (cyber and EOW), Jyotipriya Singh, DCP (crime), SambhajiKadam, ACP ShivajiPawar, police inspector JairamPaigude, sub-inspector SagarPanmand, and constables Aslam Attar and SantoshJadhav were among those in charge of the investigation into the heist.

One of the suspects died before the decision was rendered, and it was claimed that they had taken Rs 94.42 crore. The money was transferred to a foreign bank account by the accused. However, Hong Kong police assisted in freezing the account.

The majority of people detained, according to the police, were mostly involved in following handlers’ instructions to withdraw cash from various ATMs using Cosmos Bank credit cards that had been duplicated. The police believe that some of the money they withdrew was given to them a commission by the racketeers.

According to the release, FerozShaikh and Salman Baig received three years of simple jail, while Abdulla Shaikh and Bashir Ahmed received four years each.Four additional people are still wanted in connection with the investigation, three of whom — KunalShukla, Abdul Bhai, and Sumer Shaikh — are believed to be in Dubai, according to the police.

The Pune City Police and Cosmos Bank were successful in recovering Rs 5.72 crore that the scammers had fraudulently placed into a bank in Hong Kong after the malware assault.

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