Azerbaijan at centre of pharma and fake AV card processing says researcher

But it's not just pharma sites that these banks are processing transactions for, he claims, but also fake AV software.

"In June, KrebsOnSecurity highlighted research from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) showing that Azerigazbank, a financial institution in Azerbaijan, was the primary merchant bank for most major online-fraud pharmacy affiliate programs", he says in his latest security posting.

"By the time that research was published, those programs had moved their business to another bank in Azerbaijan, JSCB Bank Standard", he adds.

The Krebs on Security researcher goes on to say that researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) revealed that three of the most popular fake AV affiliate services "processed tens of millions of dollars in payments through Bank Standard and the International Bank of Azerbaijan."

According to Krebs, a university researcher has been making targeted sample purchases from dozens of fake AV sites, in order to identify the partner banks involved in transaction processing.

"In late 2010, McCoy began buying rogue antivirus software from fake AV affiliate businesses BestAV and Gagarincash - the latter named after Yuri Gagarin, the Russian cosmonaut who was the first man launched into space", he notes.

"McCoy said both fake AV operations previously used Bank Standard, but within the past month have switched to the International Bank of Azerbaijan", he says.

Krebs goes on to note several fake AV software sites as now routing their transaction processing via partner banks in Azerbaijan and quotes McCoy as saying that banks in that country have cornered the market in this area.

The security resourcer adds - with some irony - that the president of Azerbaijan met last week with NATO officials to discuss ways to promote cybersecurity, "but somehow I doubt that preventing Americans from getting ripped off is high on the country's priority list."

"Given the volume of major cybercrime payments flowing through Azerbaijani banks, one has to wonder why Visa and MasterCard would allow any internet-based transactions from consumers in the United States and Europe to these institutions", he concludes.



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