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Guest Blog: Operation Trident Breach

….”hear from the investigators directly involved in this sensational story of intrigue and deception.”

It’s interesting how many major crime investigations begin when an alert citizen sees something suspicious and picks up the phone and notifies the proper authorities. Operation Trident Breach began just that way. This is a story which began in Omaha May 2009, when FBI agents in Omaha, Nebraska learned of automated clearing house batch payments to 46 separate bank accounts throughout the US. The case soon blossomed into an international investigation that spanned Europe and the wilds of the former Soviet Union. From England to the Netherlands and onto the Ukraine and Moldova the case has all the excitement of a spy novel with false passports, the recruitment of youth in search of overseas work, and cyber sleuths from around the global.


Cybercrime is a global phenomenon that requires international detective work and collaboration. For the first time hear from the investigators directly involved in this sensational story of intrigue and deception. The crime ring that organized this crime operation targeted $220 million in bank accounts in the United States. Over 100 people were ultimately arrested and over $70 million was stolen. In fact, this cybercrime ring stole more money in Operation Trident Breach than all bank robberies combined last year in the United States. The thieves targeted small- to medium-sized companies, municipalities, churches, and individuals.

These cyber criminals would insert Malware steal passwords of bank accounts of target companies with the use of sophisticated ZeuS banking Trojan. This would be inserted into a targeted computer by someone opening an email that contained the virus. Once inserted the criminals would capture the password to the bank account and transfer funds to other bank accounts around the country. These accounts were set up by money mules how came the US to work menial summer jobs under temporary J-1 visa’s to launder the money. Using false passports the temporary workers would established bank accounts with false passports they have been provided by the crime ring. After the transferred occurred they would withdraw the money and fly back to their home countries and jeep 10 percent of the proceeds.

Our keynote panel at FOSE on Wednesday, July 20th at 3:30pm, Operation Trident Breach – Lessons Learned from FBI Global Cyber Crime Arrests, will have FBI Agents from Omaha and Eastern Europe who were involved in the case. The panel will also feature Gary Warner, director of Computer Forensics at the University of Alabama in Birmingham and we anticipate a surprise guest.

About Paul Joyal
Paul M. Joyal is an American security analyst and media commentator who frequently comments on political and security matters concerning Russia and former Soviet countries. Joyal holds a master’s degree in international relations from The Catholic University of America. He was a staff member for the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and later became a vice president at, and currently serves as managing director of National Strategies Inc. Joyal has been cited as an expert source by many news outlets, including Time Magazine and PBS The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.