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'Cyber Heist' Using Malware To Siphon Up To Two Billion From Banks



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.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Why The U.S. Lost Its Leverage In The Middle East — And May Never Get It Back

In the Israel-Hamas war, Qatar now plays the key role in negotiations, while the United States appears increasingly disengaged. Shifts in the region and beyond require that Washington move quickly or risk ceding influence to China and others for the long term.

Photograph of U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken  shaking hands with sraeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

November 30, 2023, Tel Aviv, Israel: U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken shakes hands with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Chuck Kennedy/U.S State/ZUMA
Sébastien Boussois


PARIS — Upon assuming office in 2008, then-President Barack Obama declared that United States would gradually begin withdrawing from various conflict zones across the globe, initiating a complex process that has had a major impact on the international landscape ever since.

This started with the American departure from Iraq in 2010, and was followed by Donald Trump's presidency, during which the "Make America Great Again" policy redirected attention to America's domestic interests.

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The withdrawal trend resumed under Joe Biden, who ordered the exit of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in 2021. To maintain a foothold in all intricate regions to the east, America requires secure and stable partnerships. The recent struggle in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict demonstrates that Washington increasingly relies on the allied Gulf states for any enduring influence.

Since the collapse of the Camp David Accords in 1999 during Bill Clinton's tenure, Washington has consistently supported Israel without pursuing renewed peace talks that could have led to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

While President Joe Biden's recent challenges in pushing for a Gaza ceasefire met with resistance from an unyielding Benjamin Netanyahu, they also stem from the United States' overall disengagement from the issue over the past two decades. Biden now is seeking to re-engage in the Israel-Palestine matter, yet it is Qatar that is the primary broker for significant negotiations such as the release of hostages in exchange for a ceasefire —a situation the United States lacks the leverage to enforce.

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