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Philippines' police arrest four accused of hacking phones for terrorist group

Four Filipino phone hackers were accused of ties to terrorist group.

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Four were arrested in the Philippines for allegedly hacking AT&T phones and funneling money to Saudi terrorists. (NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Three men and one woman have been arrested in the Philippines for hacking into the accounts of AT&T business customers in the United States and funneling money into a terrorist group, The New York Times reported.

According to the Philippines Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, they busted the four with the help of the FBI, which are connected to a Saudi-based terrorist group that caused almost $2 million in losses to AT&T. They were arrested in raids across Manila last week, The Times reported.

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On Saturday the FBI said they were working with police in the Philippines on the phone hacking investigation, which started as early as 2009, The Times reported. The arrests stemmed from a complaint filed by AT&T and the FBI, the Wall Street Journal reported.

According to WSJ, the four hackers worked for a group that helped finance a deadly 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, India. They were working on commission for a terrorist group linked to Muhammad Zamir, from Pakistan. Zamir was arrested in Italy in 2007, where he was running a call center and allegedly buying information from the hackers, WSJ reported.

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The Filipino police said FBI agents uncovered a paper trail of various bank transactions linking the suspected hackers to the terrorist group. The police said the hackers gained access to different telecommunication companies, which included AT&T, using business customers’ phone numbers and diverting revenues into the accounts of terrorists.

AT&T reimbursed its customers for the charges and said in a statement that “its network were neither targeted nor breached by the hackers,” The Times reported.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/philippines/111127/philippines-police-arrest-four-accused-hacking