Biggest Bank Robbery In World History
Technology is changing certain aspects of our lives more and more each day. Like with any other changes, there is good and bad. Good: being able to check your email from any computer or even your smartphone, something we’ve all grown accustomed to. Bad: changing the game for bank robbers.
In what is now the biggest bank robbery in world history, seven hackers are charged with the theft of $45 million from 27 different countries around the world. Is our sensitive bank data safe on the dedicated servers or virtual private servers of banks?
Biggest Bank Robbery: How Did They Do It?
How is it these hackers were able to conduct 40,500 transactions across the world in order to steal millions of dollars from thousands of ATMs in as little as 10 hours?
According to the Justice Department, the thieves relied on the information taken after breaking into the computer systems of two different credit card processors: one in December 2012 in India; the other this February here in the US.
Next, they upped the available balance and removed limits on withdrawals on prepaid Mastercard debit cards issued by National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah PSC (RAKBANK) out of the United Arab Emirates, and Bank of Muscat out of Oman.
Counterfeit debit cards were then handed out all over the world to “cashers” who took them to ATMs to withdraw as much as they could. Without this worldwide network of cashers, they never would have been able to steal as much in as little time as they did. The cashers bought items for themselves to launder the money, and then sent the rest back to whoever was heading the operation.
Biggest Bank Robbery: Who Did It?
According to authorities, seven US citizens living in Yonkers, NY have been arrested in connection with the robbery: Evan Jose Pena; Jael Mejia Collado; Jose Familia Reyes; Joan Luis Minier Lara; Elvis Rafael Rodriguez; Chung Yu-Holdguin; and Emir Yasser Yeje.
The eighth suspect charged, Alberto Yusi Lajud-Pena, a.k.a. ‘Albertico’ and ‘Prime,’ is said by prosecutors to have been murdered on April 27 in the Dominican Republic. It is unknown if this case and his murder are connected.
Two of the suspects had hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and contained in bank accounts seized, and discovered a Mercedes SUV and two Rolex watches as well.
Biggest Bank Robbery: Others May Be Held Accountable
Although the eight men were from NY, US Attorney Loretta Lynch believes the operation’s headquarters are based somewhere outside of the US. It’s hard to say where, as the robbery was conducted at points all over the globe.
Lynch also said that US investigators are hard at work to determine whether or not there are other cells of this group anywhere else in the country.
“In the place of guns and masks, this cyber crime organization used laptops and the Internet. Moving as swiftly as data over the Internet, the organization worked its way from the computer systems of international corporations to the streets of New York City, with the defendants fanning out across Manhattan to steal millions of dollars from hundreds of ATMs in a matter of hours,’ said Lynch.
Biggest Bank Robbery: Highlighting A Crucial Issue
This case highlights an issue security experts have been talking about for years: electronic fraud in banking institutions.
“Hackers only need to find one vulnerability to cause millions of dollars of damage,” pointed out Mark Rasch, a former federal cyber crimes prosecutor.
Biggest Bank Robbery: Accounts Safe (For Now)
Lynch assured the public that not a single bank account was compromised. However, it does make you wonder just how safe your bank’s website really is. Yes, your information may be contained in a secure dedicated server, but who’s to say hackers cannot find a way to access your account?
Obviously authorities are on the job, and the one thing that can be said about this case: the ATM cameras worked wonderfully in assuring these perpetrators were brought to justice. Yes, cyber crimes are ever-evolving, but so are authorities when it comes to investigative techniques.
Do you worry about the security of your sensitive bank information? Do you feel confident your bank will make it right, and that the authorities will do their job in catching the bad guys? Or, do you feel that the bad guys are adapting to new technologies quicker than the good guys?