• 2 days Markets Unfazed As Inflation Hits 13-Year High
  • 2 days How the Token Economy is Disrupting Financial Markets
  • 4 days FBI Investigating 100 Types Of Ransomware Attacks
  • 6 days Fed Ends Corporate Credit Emergency Lending Program
  • 8 days AMC Becomes the Latest Winning Meme Stock After GameStop
  • 10 days The Real Reason Your 401k Has Been Lagging
  • 10 days China Lifts Cap On Births, Allows Three Children Per Couple
  • 12 days The Market Is Ripe For Another GameStop Saga
  • 15 days Senate Grills Big Banks Over Pandemic Opportunism
  • 17 days Cannabis Has A Major Cash Problem
  • 17 days Ransomware Netted Criminals $350M In 2020 Alone
  • 18 days Russia Is Taking On Google
  • 19 days Chinese Regulators Deal Another Big Blow To Bitcoin
  • 20 days Ohio Residents Brave Vaccine for Chance To Win $1M
  • 22 days Inflation Is Coming. Are You Prepared?
  • 23 days 3 World-Shaking Trends Investors Need To Watch This Year
  • 23 days Travel Might Get Another Supersonic Disruption
  • 24 days The World Is Running Out Of 6 Key Resources
  • 26 days $15/Hour Minimum Wage Might Happen Naturally
  • 27 days Money-Laundering Binance Probe Report Adds To Bitcoin Woes
COVID Fraud Amounts To Nearly $570M

COVID Fraud Amounts To Nearly $570M

Illicit products have run the…

Could This Be The Hottest Investment Sector For 2021?

Could This Be The Hottest Investment Sector For 2021?

A $52-billion pain management market,…

Charles Benavidez

Charles Benavidez

Staff Writer, Safehaven.com

Charles Benavidez is a writer and editor for Safehaven.com. Charles is located in New York City and has over 5 years of experiencing covering financial…

Contact Author

  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