AT&T hack funds funneled to militants
Hackers alleged to have been hired by Saudi-based militant group
The FBI and Philippine police have arrested four people over a hacking operation on US telecommunications firm AT&T, designed to funnel money to a Saudi-based militant group, according to Reuters.
The four people arrested last week in Manila were allegedly paid by the same group the FBI accuses of having funded the Mumbai attacks in 2008, according to the Philippines' Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said.
AT&T lost approximately $2 million as a result of the hack, the CIDG told Reuters in a statement.
The hackers broke into the AT&T phone system and made calls on customer's accounts to expensive international premium-rate services.
Jan Rasmussen, a spokeswoman for AT&T, told Reuters it wrote off some fraudulent charges that appeared on customer bills. She declined to elaborate or comment on the $2 million figure.
Philippines' police said the money stolen in the attack was sent to the bank accounts of an unidentified Saudi militant group.
One of the four people arrested was Paul Michael Kwan, 29, who ATCCD chief Police senior superintendent Gilbert Sosa said had been arrested in 2007 after the FBI began a crackdown on groups suspected of financing militant activities.
Sosa said the hackers were being paid by a group originally run by Muhammad Zamir, a Pakistani arrested in Italy in 2007. Zamir was a member of Jemaah Islamiah, a Southeast Asian militant network with links to al Qaeda.
"Zamir's group, later tagged by the FBI to be the financial source of the terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, on November 26, 2008, is also the same group that paid Kwan's group of hackers in Manila," Sosa said in the statement.