February 9th, 2006, 17:51 PM
Old and Cranky
Russian Hackers Steal Over $1M From Personal Bank Accounts in France
Russian thieves have stolen more than 1M euros (680,000 pounds) from personal bank accounts in France, the Guardian daily reported on Tuesday.
French authorities claim the thieves used so called “sleeper bugs” which can take control of and empty a bank account in seconds. In one hit, a bank customer lost 40,000 euros.
Police say the virus is embedded in emails or websites and remains dormant until the user contacts their bank online. When that happens, the bug becomes active and records passwords and bank codes which are then forwarded to the thieves. They then use the information to check if the victim has money in the bank before transferring funds to the accounts of third parties, known as mules, who may have agreed to allow money to pass through their accounts in return for a commission of between 5% and 10%.
Police claim this is set up through fictitious companies, including one American firm named World Transfer. Although, the mules could be unaware that their computers are being used for theft.
A dozen Russian thieves, described by police as being typically aged between 20 and 30, and several Ukrainian masterminds of the scam have been arrested in Moscow and St Petersburg.
The authorities were alerted in November 2004, when a bank customer noticed a large sum missing from his account. This was followed by other reports of theft all over France. In 11 months, the thieves had stolen one million Euros.
Nicolas Woirhaye, a security expert, said the French authorities were alerted to scams every three weeks. He said the best way to beat pirates was to use up-to-date anti-virus software.
“All the French victims were trapped because they didn’t have any [computer] protection,” he said.
The minimum commission fee taken by mules who know their accounts are being used as ’cut-outs’ for fraudsters.
February 28th, 2006, 06:41 AM
damn thats one hell of a hi tech crime
March 8th, 2006, 02:02 AM
its amazing that these exploits work...
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