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Subtle malware lets hackers swipe over $300 million from banks

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
February 14, 2015
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It's no secret that hackers see banks as prime targets, but one band of digital thieves is conducting heists on a truly grand scale. Security researchers at Kaspersky have published details of malware attacks that have stolen at least $300 million from financial institutions in 30 countries. The crooks not only trick bank employees into installing a virus (Carbanak) through spoofed email, but spy on staff in order to mimic their behavior and prevent any telltale signs that money is falling into the wrong hands. Many of the attacks focus on shuffling money to outside accounts, although some will send paper cash to ATMs monitored by criminals.

The affected banks are aware of what's going on, but Kaspersky can't name them because of non-disclosure pacts. The companies are sometimes facing ongoing attacks, and at least some of these firms are reluctant to admit that they fell victim to this kind of breach. That's not good news, especially since the breaches range as far as Japan, Russia and the US -- it's hard to know whether or not Carbanak is putting your finances at risk. While it's always a good idea to keep an eye out for suspicious bank account activity, you now have an even better reason to be cautious.

[Image credit: Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images]

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