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Banks vs. cybercriminals

By David McMillin · Bankrate.com
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

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?

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60 Comments
Johnny
December 18, 2012 at 12:22 am

If they want to impress me they will wipe out my student loan from Nelnet. Otherwise, thier just annoying and rookies.

Rhonda
December 17, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Thomas, what happened to FDIC insured money in bank accounts. Why wouldnt the bank insure the loss?? Pretty scary if you made a deposit at bank and had a receipt and they knew it was a hacker. Is lost money through hacking NOT insured at banks???

B-Movie
December 17, 2012 at 7:35 pm

I wonder if this is just the major lender banks putting a scare into their customers for a future "Blame" for what they are about to do. They probably paid a hacker to make it look like someone stole our funds, when in reality it was the bank with an off shore acct. stealing from us yet again.

vickey
December 17, 2012 at 7:12 pm

IF THERE WAS EVER A SANTA CLAUS I WOULD APPLAUDE ANYONE WHO HAS THE CAPABLITIES IF THEY COULD DELETE ALL THE MORTGAGES AND GIVE EVERYONE A PAY OFF BALANCES( ZERO THEM OUT ) THAT WOULD DEFINETELY MAKE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS ...AND TEACH THE LENDERS A VERY MERRY LESSON ...

Jack Dunn
December 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Is anyone considering that this is another banking... hoax?

George Bilsboraarow
December 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Now might be a real good time for the banks to start thinking more about their customers than the money flowing into their own pokets.

Thomas
December 17, 2012 at 6:02 pm

I gave ten one-hunded dollar bills to the bank. When I check my balance electronically from my computer it says zero. When I call the bank they say hackers stole my money and I lost $1,000.00.

I disagree.

I gave the money to the bank. Hackers simply subtracted numbers from the bank's electronic files and added electronic numbers to their own files or maybe the electronic numbers were just erased and are gone. However they want to portray it, I didn't lose it and it wasn't stolen from me.

The computer is just an electronic means of recording transactions exactly like the old passbook. This is as if I gave them my passbook to verify my balance and they hand it back with "$1,000.00" erased and say, "Look at that! YOU lost one-thousand dollars! You should be more careful with your money!"

Now I've lost everything and they're still in business as usual, taking in money at the teller windows.

Lena
December 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Does this include the bank that handles Social Security deposits?
I can't afford to loose my money, I'm on disability and a limited
income. Thanks.

ed leshansky
December 17, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Perhaps additional technology is not always progress. I wonder whether the US Banking industry is considering having "analog" institutions absent of computer records. Give me my old passbook back and I'll deal with a "teller." Anything to avoid being a victim of such fraud.

sandra stevens-miler
December 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm

As my husband's book says, "Move the Decimal," for I, as his life partner and business partner,know that we are facing billions of dollars as a loss from a Cyberspace attack. Why did we not prepare for this 20 years ago? We knew this could occur after speaking with leading Russian and Chinese academics and business people in 1992 and 1993 who were afraid of this happening to them in their own countries and to those of us around the world. Along with others, my husband and I tried to prevent this from happening. Perhaps, after the most recent massacre, we will begin to pay attention and take heed.