A hacking ring has allegedly stolen up to $1 billion from banks around the world in what appears to be one of the biggest banking breaches known; the Telegraph calls it the "world's biggest bank raid." The hackers have been active since at least the end of 2013 and infiltrated more than 100 banks in 30 countries, according to Russian security company Kaspersky Lab. After gaining access to banks' computers through phishing schemes and other methods, they lurk for months to learn the banks' systems, taking screen shots and even video of employees using their computers, the company says. Once the hackers become familiar with the banks' operations, they apparently use that knowledge to steal money without raising suspicions.
In so doing, they program ATMs to dispense money at specific times or set up fake accounts and transfer money into them. The hackers seem to limit their theft to about $10 million before moving on to another bank, part of the reason why the fraud was not detected earlier, says Kaspersky. The attacks are unusual because they target the banks themselves rather than customers and their account information. Most of the targets have been in Russia, the US, Germany, China, and Ukraine, although the attackers may be expanding throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, Kaspersky says. In one case, a bank lost $7.3 million through ATM fraud. In another case, a financial institution lost $10 million by the attackers exploiting its online banking platform. Kaspersky says it's helping law-enforcement agencies to investigate.