Saturday, June 13, 2009

Phone hacks financed terrorism

Authorities in the US and Italy arrested a group of hackers and others who allegedly stole phone service (about 12 million minutes, valued at $55 million), resold it via call centers and phone cards, and used the profit to fund terrorist activities.

Three suspects living in the Philipines allegedly provided Pakistani nationals living in Italy with access to stolen phone lines. According to Philippines authorities, one of the suspects has ties to al Qaeda.

The hackers received about $100 a hack, in payments made by the Madina Trading Co., which provided wire transfers via U.S.-based money-transfer services. The company, owned by one of the call center operators, also paid for the Internet-based phone accounts used by the 11-26 Mumbai attackers to make calls to their handlers.

See, "Alleged Hacking-Terror Effort Thwarted," Wall St. Journal, June 13, 2009, at

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