Hackers break the bank to the tune of $300 MEEELLION

Kaspersky spills on global hack it says could top a BILLION once all transactions probed

A series of bank hacker heists have hit more than 100 financial institutions, say Kaspersky researchers, and more than US$300 million appears to have walked as a result.

The attacks targeted employees at as-yet-unnamed banks with malware dubbed Carbanak that gave access to corporate networks, giving criminals access for more than two years.

The final figure could, however, be more than three times the number Kaspersky is willing to use at present, due to a series of $10 million transactions that are difficult to track.

Security bod Sergey Golovanov told The New York Times that the perps are fraudsters from Europe, China, and Russia.

"The goal was to mimic their (a bank's) activities," Golovanov said of research to be published today.

"That way, everything would look like a normal, everyday transaction."

Money was stolen in large amounts by temporarily inflating a customer's bank balance before wiring off the difference. This went under the radar of banks that verified account balances every 10 hours.

Attackers also used online banking and remote access to force ATMs to spit cash to waiting gang members.

One Kaspersky customer lost $10 million while another was fleeced $7.3 million through ATM withdrawals.

The attack, described as probably the "most sophisticated attack the world has seen", due to its very low profile, focussed on Russia banks, plus others in the United States, Europe, and Japan.

Industry groups and law enforcement agencies including Interpol and the Dutch National Police were investigating the attacks, the Times reported.

The attacks delivered the Carbanak malware through phishing emails sent and executed by bank staff. This appeared to grant a beach head from where criminals planted surveillance malware and remote access trojans and sought out employees charged with administering cash transfer and ATMs.

Criminals then established bank accounts in the US and China, reportedly with JP Morgan Chase and the Agricultural Bank of China, where large amounts of cash would be transferred up to four months after the initial breach. ®

Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022