A Russian cyber crime group has stolen near about $1 billion from the banks in U.S, Europe, Russia and Eastern Europe. The attack is apparently the biggest heist in the entire history of cyber crimes and the criminals used very sophisticated methods and the weakest link in a security system — humans, to make it happen.
The Kaspersky Labs reports suggested that these hackers were active in the system since 2013 and had nearly 100 banks located in 30 countries as their targets.
Report indicates that the hackers first made themselves aware of the banks’ way of working; then they eventually started taking photographs, videos and audios of the employees working there. However, after getting aware of the operations, hackers programmed the ATMs, faked the transactions and managed to transfer funds to the fraudulent bank accounts. Each time a bank was hit, hackers used to take out nearly $10 million and leave the territory forever. Researchers believe that they were not interested in the information but only the money.
“In this case they are not interested in information. They’re only interested in the money,” Kaspersky principal security researcher Vicente Diaz said. “They’re flexible and quite aggressive and use any tool they find useful for doing whatever they want to do.”
Hackers affected banks mostly in U.S., Germany, China, Russia, Ukraine and many other parts of Asia. Kaspersky reported many financial institutes and banks have lost millions in ATM fraud and fake transactions.
None of the individual involved in this issue has been caught until now, however, the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center said, “We cannot comment on individual actions our members have taken, but on balance we believe our members are taking appropriate actions to prevent and detect these kinds of attacks and minimize any effects on their customers,” the organization said in a statement. “The report that Russian banks were the primary victims of these attacks may be a significant change in targeting strategy by Russian-speaking cybercriminals.”
The heist is probably the biggest in the entire history of cyber crimes, whereas, in earlier attacks botnet infected thousands of Europeans and stole about $100 millions. However, this one big, very big indeed, not just a few hundreds but an amount of one billion dollars disappeared like it never existed.