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SWIFT hackers nick $10m from Ukraine bank

Millions siphoned off into cyber-robbers' network of offshore accounts

Hackers stole $10m from a Ukrainian bank by – yup, you guessed it – invading its computers and using the inter-bank transfer system SWIFT to shift their loot.

The theft from an unnamed Ukrainian bank follows news of cyber-heists at other banks worldwide, most notoriously the lifting of $81m from an account held in New York City by Bangladesh's central bank.

The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) was recruited by the infiltrated Ukrainian bank to probe this latest hack and clean up the damage. The experts said they found evidence of criminals hijacking internal systems to move millions into a web of offshore companies via SWIFT.

"At the current moment, dozens of banks (mostly in Ukraine and Russia) have been compromised, from which has been stolen hundreds of millions of dollars," said ISACA, the English-language Kyiv Post reports.

IT security analysts at BAE Systems and Symantec linked the crooks behind the Bangladesh account raid to the hackers who ransacked Sony Pictures Entertainment's systems last year. The US government blames the Sony infiltration on North Korea – so it's believed Pyongyang was also behind the high-profile run of SWIFT-related cyber-stickups.

SWIFT has repeatedly said its own network and services are secure, and has consistently blamed the banks for allowing hackers to commandeer internal terminals used for inter-bank transfers.

The SWIFT global payments system announced it would considersuspending banks with weaker cyber defenses until they improve their security. ®


Russia and, to a lesser extent, Ukraine are the stomping grounds of ATM malware crooks. It seems likely that the dozens of victimized banks have been hit by the Carbanak gang or the Metel (Russian for blizzard) crew rather than the hackers targeting client connections to the SWIFT inter-bank transfer system.

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