Entries with tag international crime investigations.

Hacker Network Steals Millions from ATMs

A sophisticated, global hacking network committed a series of thefts from ATMs in two dozen different countries -- including the United States, Japan, Russia, Romania, Egypt, Colombia, Britain, Sri Lanka, and Canada -- that netted the criminals $45 million. Officials arrested seven people in the US in connection with the thefts, which a dozen law-enforcement agencies worldwide have been investigating. Law-enforcement officials said the network’s leaders deployed operatives operating in cells in 27 countries, including this group in the US. According to authorities, the hackers infiltrated the databases of two Middle Eastern banks. They then reportedly eliminated withdrawal limits on prepaid debit cards and created passwords for the accounts. They then allegedly loaded the stolen account information onto plastic cards—including even old hotel key cards or expired credit cards—with a magnetic stripe. The hackers then reportedly coordinated the use of these cards with the different cells or groups of “cashers” they set up to quickly withdraw funds from various ATMs. Those cells retrieving the cash took their cut, laundered the money, and sent it in the form of goods or cash to the network’s leaders. In the first operation, the hackers took $5 million. In the second operation, officials claim that within 10 hours, the hackers took $40 million in a series of 36,000 transactions. They made 40,500 withdrawals overall in the two different operations. Security experts say the problem is that many banks and merchants in the United States use cards with magnetic strips rather than those with chips that are difficult to duplicate. Investigators say the suspects from the US cell are US citizens originally from the Dominican Republic living in Yonkers, New York, and face charges of conspiracy and money laundering after allegedly stealing $2.8 million. (CNBC)(The Associated Press @ The Telegraph)(Reuters @ NBCNews)(The New York Times -- 1) (The New York Times -- 2)(The Los Angeles Times)

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