In a scheme traced to a Russian computer and a hacker who calls himself "vorVzakone," 30 U.S. banks are under the threat of attack by a gang of international computer criminals.
While this may sound like something from a fictional James Bond movie, the plot looks to be very real. According to a white paper issued by security technology company McAfee, the banking industry needs to prepare for an attack that could wipe out hundreds of millions of dollars. The attacks fall under the umbrella of Project Blitzkrieg, and rumors of its authenticity have been swirling for some time. According to McAfee's extensive research, the rumors are true.
"McAfee Labs believes that Project Blitzkrieg is a credible threat to the financial industry and appears to be moving forward as planned," writes Ryan Sherstobitoff, a threats researcher with McAfee Labs.
In fact, it looks as though there already have been at least 300 victims in the U.S.
What can you do to protect yourself? Other than closely monitor your balance to immediately report any stolen funds, not much. This isn't as simple as a hacker uncovering your credit card info and going on a shopping spree. It involves techniques such as so-called victim machine cloning and webinjects. It's up to banks to protect you from these kinds of sophisticated cybercrimes. It's part of the reason that you pay bank fees. Financial institutions have to invest in resources that can fend off these malicious activities, and those resources cost a lot of money.
The banking industry has been under attack this year. Just a few months ago, all of the major U.S. banks suffered massive distributed denial of service attacks that prevented account holders from accessing bank websites. While big banks were the targets of those attacks, Sherstobitoff suggests that this attack could be geared toward small banks, too. He writes that Project Blitzkrieg may target "smaller financial institutions in the hope of exploiting their lack of expertise in dealing with such incidents."
What do you think of the news? Are banks winning the war against cybercriminals?