ATM fraud schemes are not uncommon, but this one perpetrated by a global network of hackers stood out for its sheer size: thieves drained $45 million from banks in just 10 hours, by drawing money from ATMs in 36,000 separate transactions.
Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, who called the theft "a massive 21st-century bank heist," announced the case Thursday in New York.
Here's how it worked:
Hackers got into bank databases, eliminated withdrawal limits on pre-paid debit cards and created access codes. Others loaded that data onto any plastic card with a magnetic stripe — an old hotel key card or an expired credit card worked fine as long as it carried the account data and correct access codes.
A network of operatives then fanned out to rapidly withdraw money in multiple cities, authorities said. The cells would take a cut of the money, then launder it through expensive purchases or ship it wholesale to the global ringleaders. Lynch didn't say where they were located.
The bad news is that cybersecurity experts say that more attacks like these are coming: Link (Photo: US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York)