Hackers stole US$300m from banks around the world in cybercrime spree

16 Feb 2015

Russian, Chinese and European hackers got away with the theft of more than US$300m from banks around the world by implementing malware attacks against them.

According to a forthcoming report from Kapspersky Labs the attackers installed remote access tool software (RATs) on computers used by several banks.

The RATS were then used to capture enough information to impersonate employees and move money to accounts.

In some cases ATMs were hijacked to disperse cash at random, which cost one bank US$7.3m.

The hackers were also ale to impersonate bank officials, according to the New York Times which was given an advance copy of the report, and transferred millions of dollars in funds from banks in Russia, Japan, Switzerland, the US and the Netherlands.

Heist almighty

Overall the hackers were able to attack more than 100 banks and financial institutions in 30 nations worldwide.

While the thefts were limited to no more than US$10m per transaction, it is understood that this represents the biggest hacker heist of all time.

It is understood that Kaspersky has briefed officials at the White House, the FBI and Interpol.

Not surprisingly, no bank has come forward to admit being a victim of the attack; a situation that does not help in countering such crimes.

The head of Kaspersky North America Chris Doggest said that the cyberattack represents an increase in the level of sophistication of cyber criminals.

“This is likely the most sophisticated attack the world has seen to date in terms of the tactics and methods that cybercriminals have used to remain covert,” he said.

Cyber theft image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years