Cybercriminals who once earned millions by breaking into individual online bank accounts are now targeting the banks’ own computers, with often-dramatic results.
In Taiwan and Thailand earlier this year, the criminals programmed bank ATMs to spew cash. Gang members stood in front of the machines at the appointed hour and collected millions of dollars.
Earlier this month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned U.S. banks of the potential for similar attacks. The FBI said in a bulletin that it is “monitoring emerging reports indicating that well-resourced and organized malicious cyber actors have intentions to target the U.S. financial sector.”
The FBI bulletin cited software used by a Russian gang known as Buhtrap. Computer-security specialists say Buhtrap and other gangs honed their techniques on Russian banks, then expanded to other countries. Sometimes the hackers break into the systems that process transactions on banking payment networks; other times they have hit ATM networks directly.