Report: Massive Cyberattack on US Banks Planned

Thursday, 13 Dec 2012 10:34 AM

By Michael Kling

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Criminals intent on stealing millions of dollars from consumer bank accounts plan to unleash a massive cyberattack on major U.S. banks, security firm McAfee warns in a new report.

McAfee’s report confirms a warning from RSA, the security division of EMC Corp., which said in October that a criminal ring had created an advanced cyberattack to steal money from bank accounts at major banks, according to CNNMoney.

McAfee believes the gang of criminals is set to launch the attack, known as Project Blitzkrieg, this coming spring. The attack, a sophisticated Trojan, had already been successfully tested on at least 300 bank accounts.

Editor's Note: The ‘Unthinkable’ Could Happen — Wall Street Journal. Prepare for Meltdown

The scheme is innovative and dangerous for a number of reasons, CNNMoney explains.

U.S. banks’ security is alerted if customers use a different computer to access their account. But the criminals plan to clone computers to make it look like they are using customers' home computers.

Banks also limit sizes of transfers, but the criminal ring is recruiting hundreds of criminals to transfer smaller amounts at a time.

The Russian-based scheme entails a recruiting campaign promising hackers a cut of stolen funds and backing of two Russian cybercriminals, including a cybermafia chief known as NSD, CNNMoney reports. Hackers are prepared to infect computers with malware and use stolen user names and passwords to move money out of the user's accounts.

Fortunately, publicity may have forced the criminals to postpone or cancel the plot, independent security researcher Brian Krebs tells CNNMoney.

Krebs says he cannot find NSD in any chat forums.

"I can't find him anywhere," Krebs notes. "Either bringing this to light scuttled any plans to go forward, or it's still moving ahead cautiously under a much more protective cover."

The stakes have never been higher for banks and financial services firms as they continue to battle cybercrime, warns Booz Allen Hamilton, a cyber security consultant, in a statement. Their customers demand fast and seamless electronic service, but are alarmed by reports of security breaches.

"Individual companies should not wait for legislation or an Executive Order to come together with their government counterparts to find dynamic solutions to these big issues," said Mike McConnell, vice chairman of Booz Allen, at Bloomberg's Enterprise Risk Conference.

Editor's Note: The ‘Unthinkable’ Could Happen — Wall Street Journal. Prepare for Meltdown

© 2014 Moneynews. All rights reserved.

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