Kenyan student hackers are converting stolen money to bitcoin

A gang of Kenyan students have been hacking foreigners’ email credit cards through email phishing, according to the country’s directorate of criminal investigations (DCI). The students create fake emails to steal the passwords and credit card information of unsuspecting victims before using the money in these credit cards to purchase bitcoin, which they then convert to Kenyan currency.

The directorate said it arrested the criminal gang who were operating out of Milimani, an affluent estate in Nakuru City,  the country’s fourth largest city.

Members of the gang include 2 students of the Kenyatta University, Francis Maina Wambui, alias Nick, 26; and Zellic Alusa, 25, who the DCI said was arrested during a raid in the company of 2 young ladies, in an apartment.

Five laptops, 4 mobile phones, 2 WiFi gadgets, 3 hard drives, and assorted SIM cards were among the items recovered from the DCI’s arrest. 

The fraudsters spent the proceeds from their hacking to fund a lavish lifestyle and purchase properties. Among the documents recovered from the apartment was a land sale agreement entered on May 25 for a property valued at KSh850,000 ($8,000) in Juja, just close to the university. 

Kenya’s rising cybercrime rate

Since the beginning of 2010, Kenya has seen an uptake in cybercrime activities which has made way for the rise of cybercrime gangs. The most notorious is the Forkbombo, a Kenyan hackers gang which fleeced people, corporations, financial institutions and government agencies of money to the tune of Sh400 million ($4 million) between 2013 and 2017, according to experts. In 2017, some members of the gang, including a former cybercrime security expert, were charged with stealing Sh3.9 billion ($39 million) from the Kenya Revenue Authority. In 2019, a member of the gang, alongside other 7 Kenyans, was arrested for attempting to hack into Equity Bank, East Africa’s largest bank in assets and deposits, in Kigali,…

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