Group of hackers is arrested in Mexico; they stole nearly $40M USD to local banks

Mexican authorities achieved the arrest of Hector Ortiz, also known as ‘El H-1’, alleged leader of “Bandidos Revolutions Team”, a criminal group dedicated to bank robbery through hacking activities in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. According to IT security audit specialists, these hackers stole a figure close to 40 million dollars to Mexican banks injecting malware into the banking networks, altering an online payment system and compromising multiple ATMs.

“As part of the investigation of a series of allegations related to electronic fraud against banking institutions, we have seized a dozen properties in the state of Guanajuato, where the arrest of ‘El H-1’ was achieved,” said a spokesperson for the Mexican Attorney-General, agency responsible for the case. 

Ortiz is the alleged operator of the cyber attack that compromised the Mexican Interbank Electronic Payments System (SPEI), which manages online banking transactions, during May last year, impacting some local financial institutions such as Inbursa and Banorte.

According to IT security audit specialists, the criminal group carried out rigorous recruitment tasks to find people with advanced information technology and programming knowledge to develop malware and hacking tools capable of intervening in the banking computer systems.

In addition, the cybercriminal group was looking for vulnerabilities to extract cash from some ATMs, stealing up to 15 million dollars in a single operation; Mexican authorities claim that the stolen money was sent to various tax havens, as well as being invested in the purchase of real estate in tourist and luxury areas in several Mexican territories.

The IT security audit specialists from the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) mentioned that the cyber criminal group was also engaged in the cloning of payment cards by infecting multiple points of sale in retail stores.

In addition to Ortiz, Mexican authorities arrested seven other people and seized multiple properties, including 27 luxury cars, seven motorcycles, computer equipment, cash and high-caliber weapons.