This is believed to be the biggest cyber crime ever – $1 billion stolen from various banks worldwide are now in the hands of hackers.
It seems like a group of hackers allegedly living in Russia have been using computer viruses and other forms of hacking in order to breach into more than 100 financial establishments all over the world (China, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, the UK).
The director of Russian company Kaspersky Lab described this recent event as:
“the most sophisticated attack the world has seen to date in terms of the tactics and methods that cyber criminals have used to remain covert.”
Their tactic consisted of sending infected emails to bank employees in order to hack directly into the system. Another option for hackers is to break into individual accounts. It seems like this group chose to breach directly into the main source.
This maneuver of sending emails infected with malware is called “spear fishing”. As soon as the receiver opens the mail, hackers can access the bank’s system. Through the infected computer, the group managed to further break into computers belonging to administration, thus accessing the office’s video surveillance.
After gaining enough information through video surveillance (this took somewhere between 2 and 4 months) the cyber thieves were able to transfer the stolen money into “dummy accounts”.
The gang was even able to control ATM activity, actually ordering the machines to give out money randomly and sometimes even without using a card.
There were some situations in which customers were used to confuse banks, managing to hide the fraud from being detected by the bank’s systems. The method consists of breaking into an individual online bank account and increasing the available sum of money. Then that extra sum would be withdrawn by the group without the person even knowing what went on as the original balance was left unchanged.
Russian company Kaspersky Lab is now working together with Interpol and Europol in order to identify the culprits.
Dr. Steven Murdoch, from University College London’s Information Security Research Group considers that although the group managed to get a hold of a lot of money, the amount was overestimated. He also considers that the most of the money will be retrieved.
Image Source: Huffington Post