THE VERGE (USA), GLOBAL SECURITY MAG (France), PC WELT, ZDNET (Germany)
A new generation of bank heist has arrived -- no balaclava or bags of banknotes necessary.
Security firms McAfee and Guardian Analytics have released a 20-page analysis on a global financial fraud ring entitled "Operation High Roller," a series of highly-organised cyber bank attacks, whose aim was to systematically siphon money from high-balance accounts.
According to the American technology news website The Verge, "criminals have been able to successfully bypass physical ‘chip and pin" authentication and use server-based fraudulent transactions to steal money from a number of accounts in Europe."
The fraud has apparently targeted transfers from at least 60 banks mainly in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands –although McAfee warns that it has found evidence of attacks against Latin American and North American financial institutions too.
The attackers used malicious softwares (aka "malwares') that automatically transfered money to so-called "mule accounts," which required not only experience in dealing with such programs, but also in-depth knowledge of banking transactions, says PC Welt (PC World German-language edition).
The German version of the business technology news website ZDNet reports that about 60 servers have been processing countless frauds over the past few months, resulting in attempts to steal between 60 million and two billion euros.
"Operation High Roller" targeted thousands of financial institutions of all sizes, ranging from small credit unions to regional and international banks, and involved small --and thus less detectable-- automated transactions, the French-language website Global Security Mag reports.