Crypto malware ring targeting Canada busted in Ukraine

The criminals operated in a rented office space and demanded that new staff members take a polygraph test, Ukrainian authorities claim.

A sophisticated operation targeting residents of Western countries, mainly in Canada, was busted in Ukraine’s western region of Khmelnytskyi.

According to the country’s Cyber Police, the scheme involved crooks offering unsuspecting victims the chance to partake in stock trading, with the ultimate goal of installing malware.

The operation was set up by two local residents who equipped a rented office with the necessary equipment and hired staff to implement the scheme.

Ukraine crypto
An excerpt from a video showing scammers' premises.

The eccentricity of the selection process is a match for anything out of Silicon Valley. Besides an English-language proficiency check, recruits were asked to take a polygraph test to get a seat in the scammers’ office, Ukraine’s Cyber Police said.

Meanwhile, those who passed the rigid selection test would call and text Canadian residents, offering digital assets supposedly acquired on the stock exchange with the help of a digital bot. When finished with the persuasion, the scammers would then ask the victim to install dedicated software, which was supposed to help deposit funds.

“As soon as they did this, the attackers gained access to the victim’s computers, their crypto wallets, logins, passwords, as well as details of card accounts. Using this information, criminals seized foreigners’ money,” Ukraine’s Cyber Police said.

The authorities searched the scammers’ offices and residences, confiscating computers, mobile phones, SIM cards, and cash obtained from illegal activities. The suspects face anywhere from ten to fifteen years behind bars.