by Tsvetana Paraskova, Oil Price:
Russian security services have arrested a local hacker who planted malware at gas stations across Russia’s southern regions that had been cheating drivers out of the gasoline that they pumped in their cars in a major fraud scheme that later resold the stolen fuel.
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) have arrested the creator of the malware, Denis Zayev, who had gas stations employees working with him to trick the software systems to selling less fuel to the customers, while reselling the fuel that was stolen.
This fraud was one of the largest such scams uncovered by the Russian services, a source in law enforcement told news outlet Rosbalt. The scheme extended to almost all regions in the south of Russia, with dozens of gas stations infected with the malware. Zayev has created a “perfect virus” that couldn’t be detected by either security controls that oil companies have used to remotely monitor gas stations, or by specialists at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, according to the police source who spoke to Rosbalt.
The virus planted in the systems allowed the hacker and his accomplices to steal up to 7 percent of the fuel. Zayev acted not only as the “seller” of the malware at some stations, but also as co-owner of the channel to steal fuel, and received a cut from the proceeds from the re-sale of the stolen fuel.
Schemes by hackers targeting gas stations are not new.
In early 2014, 13 people were indicted in the U.S. for allegedly using small Bluetooth-enabled skimmers to steal more than US$2 million from credit cards that customers used at gas stations in Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina in 2012 and 2013. According to the Manhattan District Attorney, the four main defendants had attached skimming devices at gas pumps at Raceway and RaceTrac to steal credit card information from customers.
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