Authorities in the Philippines teamed up with the FBI to arrest four reputed hackers they believe were working for a terrorist organization.
The four suspects were arrested in the Philippines Nov. 23. Law enforcement officials believe the suspects were employed by the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, which has been linked to numerous bombing attacks.
According to the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), FBI agents and members of the CIDG’s Anti-Transnational and Cyber Crime Division (ATCCD) hit several areas in the metro Manila area in order to make the arrests and confiscate computer and telecommunications equipment.
In a statement, Police Senior Superintendent Gilbert Sosa, head of the ATCCD, said that one of the suspects – 29-year-old Paul Michael Kwan of Caloocan City – had been arrested in 2007 by authorities in the Philippines during a crackdown on suspected terrorist groups.
According to Reuters, the FBI said AT&T’s customers were the targets of the hackers and not the carrier itself. An anonymous source reportedly added that the hackers breached the phone systems of AT&T customers and made calls to expensive international premium-rate services. According to authorities in the Philippines, the activity cost AT&T nearly $2 million. The proceeds went to the terrorist group, and the hackers were paid on a commission basis, Sosa said.
Last week, AT&T revealed to customers it had detected an attempt to use “auto-script technology” to try to link AT&T telephone numbers to online AT&T accounts. Less than one percent of the company’s customers were affected, and no accounts were breached, the company has said.