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U.S. Charges Eight In $45 Million (USD) Cybercrime Scheme

posted 9 May 2013, 09:21 by Mpelembe   [ updated 9 May 2013, 09:24 ]

U.S. charges eight in $45 million (USD) cybercrime bank heist that spanned the globe.

 NEW YORKNEW YORKUNITED STATES (MAY 9, 2013)  ( (NBC) - The U.S. charged eight individuals on Thursday (May 9) with stealing debit card data from two Middle Eastern banks in a scheme that prosecutors said netted them $45 million (USD) in a matter of hours.

"We are here to announce the unsealing of a four-count indictment charging eight defendants, the last two of whom were arrested last night, with participating in two recent cyber attacks that inflicted $45 million in losses on the global financial system in a matter of hours. This was indeed the largest theft of this type that we have yet seen. This was a 21st century bank heist that reached through the internet to span the globe, but instead of guns and masks, this cybercrime organization used laptops and malware," said Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn.

The New York-based cell hacked into credit card processors to steal Mastercard Inc debit card data, which they used to make approximately 36,000 transactions over a total of 10 hours in 24 countries, the Justice Department said. The cards were issued by National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates and Bank of Muscat in Oman, she said.

"It was the money that was stored in the ATM. By using the prepaid debit cards, they essentially were not targeting somebody's checking or savings account. They were targeting amounts the bank had set aside to cover whatever that card might have been," described Lynch.

"So, the loss was incurred by the banks at this point. The concern, of course, is that this organization is looking for weaknesses anywhere they can find it and they will essentially look for a weakness in personal accounts as well. And as they evolve, we have to evolve," the prosecutor warned.