• 2 days The Gold Rally Has Finally Run Out Of Steam
  • 2 days Citibank Analyst Predicts $300k Bitcoin By End Of 2021
  • 5 days Bitcoin Lives Up To Its Safe Haven Status In A Big Way
  • 5 days 14 Million People Will Lose Unemployment Benefits On December 31st
  • 7 days Why 12 Million American Millionaires Isn’t Good News
  • 8 days Big Oil Is Paying The Price For Investing In Renewables
  • 9 days The Banking Industry’s $35 Billion Gravy Train Could Disappear
  • 10 days Did Amazon Just Democratize Prescription Drugs?
  • 11 days The Private Space Race Just Got Very Real
  • 13 days Short Sellers Are Willing Big In This Turbulent Market
  • 14 days SpaceX Gets Go-Ahead To Send Humans Into Space
  • 15 days Saudi Arabia Lost $27 Billion In Oil Crash
  • 16 days China’s Big Tech Takes A Hit As Regulators Crack Down
  • 17 days Black Friday Could Be Retailers’ Only Hope
  • 18 days Why You Should Not Dump Your Stay At Home Stocks Just Yet
  • 19 days The Real Reason Why Uber And Lyft Stocks Have Soared Nearly 50%
  • 21 days Bitcoin Heads Towards $16,000 And No One’s Cashing In
  • 22 days Elon Musk’s $250 Tesla Tequila Is Already Sold Out
  • 23 days Will The San Francisco Wealth Tax Spark An Exodus Of The Rich?
  • 24 days The Fin-Tech IPO Of The Century Just Got Crushed
McAfee Arrested In Spain On Tax Evasion Charges

McAfee Arrested In Spain On Tax Evasion Charges

A controversial businessman and anti-virus…

Trump Loses Another Leg Of The WeChat Battle

Trump Loses Another Leg Of The WeChat Battle

The Trump administration’s bid to…

  1. Home
  2. News
  3. Breaking News

The Cyber Heists Banks Don't Want You To Know About

casa

Bank robberies aren’t as exciting as they used to be when they were the stuff of Ocean’s Eleven style, or the coarser Bonnie and Clyde. No more black balaclavas or dead president masks. No more guns, no more physical threats. This is the age of the cyber thief, and Mexico’s recent $110-million bank heist didn’t even require a criminal to touch the money at all. With a push of a button it was gone--almost. 

Gone, too, is the excitement of getting caught up in a bank robbery as dramatized on television. But the lack of physical excitement also means that no one needs to know when a bank’s been robbed. It’s all cyber, so it can all be kept on the down low.

That’s what happened when cyber bank thieves attempted to steal $110 million from Mexico’s Bancomext in January, and managed to keep the public from knowing until four months later.

According to Bloomberg, the cyber thieves are suspected of being North Korean and they infiltrated accounts in dozens of branch offices and then created phantom orders that wired funds to bogus accounts they set up. The accounts they infiltrated were at the Standard Chartered Plc accounts Bancomext uses for international wires.

And the North Korea suspicions arise from the fact that the transfers were disguised as donations from the Mexican bank to a Korean church.

The money never made it to its final destination thanks to some mid-level technician monitoring messages on the SWIFT network, and his alert came at a fortunate time: Banks in Korea were closed at the moment and Bancomext had enough time to reverse the wire transfers before the money was gone forever.

Mexico’s Central Bank has been rather lacking in measures to prevent cyber theft. That’s probably why the country’s domestic inter-bank payments system (SPEI) has lost $15 million in irregular transactions.

According to Reuters, phantom transfers have cost Mexican banks dearly, but silence reigns as banks try to avoid being punished for their failure to implement legally mandated protocols to guard against cyberattacks.

(Click to enlarge)

Mexico isn’t the only country dealing with cyber theft from banks. Related: Bitcoin Fights Back After Hitting Monthly Low

Two years ago, cyber criminals made away with $100 million from the Bangladesh central bank, by way of the New York Federal Reserve.

Ecuador's Banco del Austro and Vietnam's Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank were also victimized by hackers.

(Click to enlarge)

Source: Zerohedge

We don’t hear about it because banks don’t like to share—much like the American intelligence agencies don’t. While banks are necessarily wondering when the next boot is going to drop as cybercrime takes on a level that is increasingly difficult to combat, they’re also slightly (tongue-in-cheek) relieved that bank robberies are no longer physically flashy and very public. Balaclavas and machine guns make for runs on banks by jittery customers. With cybercrime, what depositors don’t know, won’t hurt them—so the logic goes.

But hackers are basking in this banking logic, and they’re counting on banks not sharing the threat.

By Charles Benavidez for Safehaven.com

More Top Reads From Safehaven.com

Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment