Add this to the many things that should concern people about the Internet: Bank robbery appears to have gone high-tech.
Instead of guns, masks, threats of bombs and even taking hostages, the perpetrators appear to have penetrated some banks’ internal computers with malware, allowing cyberthieves to first case the daily routines of banks. Then criminal groups in other countries, impersonating bank officers have transferred millions of dollars from banks in Japan, Russia, the United States, Switzerland and the Netherlands into dummy accounts set up in other nations, The New York Times reports.
It sounds like a gripping, high-thriller movie, but it is only too real.
Kaspersky Lab, a Moscow-based company, provided information to The Times, saying the scope of the attack on more than 100 banks and other financial institutions in 30 countries could make it one of the largest bank thefts in history. Kaspersky Labs was called to Ukraine in late 2013 to investigate an ATM in Kiev spitting out cash at seemingly random times. The company learned that it was part of a much bigger problem.
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The FBI and the White House have been notified.
Evidence points to the theft being about $300 million, but the total could be triple that. The banks haven’t been named, and no officials want to admit that their systems were so vulnerable or that the cyberattacks might be continuing.
Add this to massive data breaches by companies such as Target, Home Depot, Sony Pictures Entertainment and health insurer Anthem. Consumers are right to fee very worried about a potential increase in identify theft and the loss of resources.
Two big questions about the banks are how will the losses be covered and how can they be stopped?