Wednesday, 01 July 2015 12:29

Hacking and Cyber criminals

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A billion dollars, 100 banks, 30 countries. This is what a multinational gang of cyber criminals managed to steal before they were discovered. This is an example of a successful bank heist conducted through computer networks, otherwise known as a cyber crime.

Any crime committed against an individual, corporation or government over internet or a computer network is termed cyber crime.  Cyber crime ranges over a broad spectrum of activities. It includes hacking, money laundering and forgery among others. This particular crime involved a sophisticated system of hacking malware, which took screenshots of the banks’ computer every 20 seconds. The Carbanak gang, named after the malware they use, gained familiarity with the banks’ system, and employed various ways to steal. In some cases, they transferred money to dummy accounts by gaining access to administrator’s computers, while in others they simply used a code to instruct the ATMs to dispense money. They monitored the workers and mimicked them to transfer the funds into dummy accounts. The hackers further limited the theft in a single bank to $10 million, to avoid raising alarm.

All this was discovered by Kaspersky, a Russian cyber security company. They were alerted by a targeted bank that discovered a piece of foreign code in their ATM. Kaspersky then helped the other victim banks to uncover the piece of malicious software in their system or ATM, which has resulted in the theft. “Losses per bank range from $2.5 million to approximately $10 million," Kaspersky said in a statement.

According to the Kaspersky Chief of Staff, this was “the most highly sophisticated criminal attack we have ever seen.” An estimated number of 10 hackers worked on one theft, over two months for a single attack. The complexity of the crimes and the remote controlling of ATMs was something new that Kaspersky and the banks had not witnessed before. Over a period of approximately two years, they managed to target banks in 30 countries, before raising alarm. Kaspersky has asked financial institutions to take a look at their networks for the presence of Carabank to avoid further losses. 

 

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