Oct. 10 (UPI) -- At least $100 million was stolen by a bank hacking syndicate, a report by a cybersecurity firm said Tuesday.
Chicago-based Trustwave Holdings Inc. said its SpiderLabs division noted the hacks, in which between $3 million and $10 million was removed from five different banks, largely in Eastern European countries. Attacks were found as far away as Africa and are increasing, Brian Hussey of Trustwave said. About $40 million was taken since March.
The arrangement involves collaborators who are often unaware they are part of a larger scheme. They are given false identifications to open zero-balance bank accounts. The syndicate then hacks the bank to drastically increase overdraft balances on each account, giving it a means to withdraw much more money than the account contains. The group then coordinates ATM withdrawals in surrounding countries.
Hussey said law enforcement officials in the investigation note that those who open the initial accounts tend to be unsophisticated about banking. He added that although the thefts focus on Eastern Europe, banks around the world should be aware of the scheme.
"Eastern Europe is often the canary in the mineshaft, used as a testing ground for techniques used elsewhere," Hussey said.