Russian speaking groups infect thousands of computers in Saudi Arabia, Gulf region

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Thousands of computers in Saudi Arabia and across the Gulf have been hacked by Russian-speaking scammers in the first seven months of the year, cybersecurity company Group-IB said in a report on Wednesday.

Group-IB identified the groups using malware to obtain passwords for accounts including Amazon and PayPal, as well as to gain access to their payment records and crypto wallets.

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In the first seven months of the year, these scammers infected around 6,300 electronic devices, stole more than 700,000 passwords, and collected credit card details from just under 1,400 people, from Saudi Arabia, according to the cybersecurity company.

Thousands of devices were also hacked, and credit card details stolen in the UAE, during the same period.

The groups used malware able to collect information stored in people’s internet browsers, such as email services and social media accounts. When the hackers obtain information such as bank details, they use it to steal money and data or sell the stolen information on the “cybercriminal underground.”

Group-IB earlier in November revealed that cyber criminals had been impersonating a “leading” recruitment firm in Saudi Arabia in a bid to break into people’s bank accounts and steal money.

A report by the cybersecurity firm found that scammers had created more than 1,000 fake versions of the Saudi company’s websites, to lure in people looking for domestic staff via ads for the website on sites like Facebook. The company targeted by the criminals was not named.

Group-IB also revealed in July that cybercriminals had launched a widescale phishing campaign targeting users in the Middle East, identifying more than 270 domains posing as well-known postal service brands.

Saudi Arabia has famously been a target for cybercriminals with the infamous hacking of oil giant Aramco in 2012, in one of the world’s biggest cyberattacks to date. A group called Cutting Sword of Justice claimed responsibility for the attack which damaged around 30,000 computers with the aim of stopping oil and gas production.

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