Men in Proxy Blog

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Next-gen criminals hack world banks – net $45 million

Posted on: May 27th, 2013

Next-gen criminals hack world banks – net $45 millionThe days of the old-fashioned bank robbery with the team of gunmen rushing into the lobby guns blazing and the getaway driver hunkered over the wheel, engine running, keeping an eye out for the cops’ early arrival are over. For any serious score of cash, it used to be that the crook would go where the most money was, and that used to be the banks. Today, it isn’t the physical location that has the real money; it’s the bank’s cyber location.

And it’s that cyber location where eight cybercriminals hacked in to access $45 million dollars in prepaid debit cards. These cards exist for banks to offer them with certain facilities and they come pre-loaded with cash. The banks have a central location for storing the magnetic coding for these cards, their respective PIN numbers and the amount of cash available on them. And it is this cyber location that these eight next-gen criminals burst into, weaponless, and stole that information.

Once they had the magnetic code, and the PIN, they created fake debit cards using various things. The information was then distributed to a network of accomplices worldwide that they called, ‘cashers’. This group even went so far as to use their hacking expertise to remove withdrawal limits to maximize their take. Then, the group and their cashers went on a shopping spree at ATM machines pulling out as much cash as they could. Their first target was the Rakbank in UAE where they were able to swiftly create 4,500 different transactions totaling a value of close to $5 million dollars.

In February, this same group targeted the Bank of Muscat in Oman. This time their network was larger, with cashers in 24 countries, who were able to withdraw 40 million dollars in 36,000 transactions. And they did this in less than eleven hours. Seven of the eight member team were arrested in New York, the eighth member was murdered in April. The remaining seven were charged for various reasons including fraud and money laundering.

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