A ‘ballooning’ fraud ring has been uncovered that could be responsible for attempted thefts of up to £1.6billion from bank accounts across the world.
The criminal campaign, dubbed Operation High Roller, has been targeting wealthy individuals, businesses and ‘every class of financial institution’ with thousands of attacks.
At least 60 banks are thought to have been affected in Britain, mainland Europe, the US and Latin America, with potential losses of between £48million and £1.6billion.
The ‘highly sophisticated’ ring had bypassed physical chip and pin identification to siphon large amounts from high balance accounts, a study by global security firm McAfee and Guardian Analytics found.
The report says: ‘With no human participation required, each attack moves quickly and scales neatly.
‘This operation combines an insider level of understanding of banking transaction systems.’
The criminals have created a computer code which automatically finds a victim’s highest value account.
It then transfers money to a prepaid debit card which can then be drained quickly and anonymously.
The ‘malware’ is so advanced that it can stay on the victim’s computer to conceal the theft, altering the target’s bank statement.
‘These attackers can defraud banks of any size,’ the report added. Sal Viveros, a security expert at McAfee, told Metro that customers and businesses should ‘be diligent’ and check statements thoroughly.
‘If they get any email asking for personal details or passwords, they should stay away,’ he added.
Source – Metro – 27 June 2012