Eastern European hackers have stolen half a million credit card numbers from Australians and racked up $25 million in fraudulent transactions, federal police have revealed.
Australian Federal Police were unable to provide details of the investigation because it is ongoing, but they confirmed they were working with law enforcement bodies in other countries to tackle the organised hacking ring.
"The Australian Federal Police can confirm it is currently investigating a series of merchants whose individual computer systems have been compromised," a spokeswoman told The Age.
"The compromise is believed to have involved approximately 500,000 credit cards and resulted in more than $25 million in fraudulent transactions."
SC Magazine, which specialises in business intelligence, has reported that the same hacker group is believed to have been responsible for a hack of US Subway restaurants, which resulted in four Romanian nationals being charged over millions of dollars in credit card fraud affecting around 80,000 customers.
The magazine said the syndicate found its victims by scanning the internet for vulnerable point of sale (POS) terminals.
"The borderless nature of this crime type poses new and unique challenges for law enforcement. International and private sector co-operation is critical to the AFP's ability to target this type of compromise, which is a challenging and time-consuming process," the police spokeswoman told The Age.
"This investigation demonstrates the importance of the AFP's close working relationship with its international law enforcement counterparts, private industry and the financial sector to combat this crime type and bring those responsible to justice."