This new style of bank robber doesn’t need masks or guns.
Hackers have stolen $300 million from world banks. Kaspersky Lab, a security tech company, estimates that number could actually be more like $1 billion stolen.
“The overall damage could be near $1 billion,” says Kapersky Lab expert Sergey Lozhkin. “Each of the [attacked] organizations could have lost an estimated $10 million.”
The criminal hackers, known as “Carbanak“, would send infected Word files to financial institutions via email, posing as other banks so the emails would be opened. These files would target out-of-date systems to gain entry past security. Once in, the hackers would look for more systems to infect, and gain full control of the banks computers.
“If a victim who received the letter, a bank employee, had old software, then the system’s vulnerability allowed for the malware to infect the computer,” Lozhkin said.
Although a majority of the banks were based in Russia, others were also attacked in the US, Japan, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.
These hackers would gain entry into a banks system, remotely make the bank send money to an ATM, and then have someone take it from the machine.
“They were then remotely making the banks transfer money to ATMs, so that certain people could then come up to those ATMs and pick the money. Someone was waiting by an ATM for the money to be spitted out [sic],” Lozhkin said.
The scheme raised suspicion in Ukraine when money was sent to an ATM, but no one was there to pick up the cash shooting out of the machine. After the hackers failed to pick up the cash, Kaspersky Lab was invited to investigate the matter, who subsequently uncovered the scheme in play.
Kaspersky Lab indicates this type of job was done by a dozen well trained cyber criminals. Carbanak are believed to be based in Russia, Ukraine, other parts of Europe and China.
Bank heists seem to have taken on a new style. No longer are bank robbers going in guns blazing, but are conducting a well planned robbery right from their homes. Time will only tell if they actually get away with it.
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