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Banks vs. cybercriminals

By David McMillin ·
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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December 18, 2012 at 7:01 am

I do my banking with a credit union, not to say they aren't hack-proof, but I feel safer than I do with big banks, and especially one with the initials BOA.

Adam Banker
December 18, 2012 at 4:46 am

I really love the people who get on websites and complain ( or comment) on how poor they are and how they are on such a strict budget or limited income yet somehow they have a computer and pay for the internet. Now on to relative matters - despite a "hacker" going into the computers and digitally removing the numbers, shouldn't the banking systems have back ups just in case a hacker is able to access the mainframe? Where does the actually real paper cash go any how? It's not like these hackers are beaming the money from the vaults like some kind of Star Trek movie, wouldn't back ups be able to tell the banks who has (had) how much in their bank?

December 18, 2012 at 4:15 am

banks are responsible for your $$$ on a cyber attack!!!!

john bradley
December 18, 2012 at 3:47 am

I have a passbook account (printed numbers in a little book). How are they going to get to that?

Dennis Pine
December 18, 2012 at 3:05 am

You may think (you would be wrong) that I am a "conspiracy" nut-job. However, you would be wrong! I do believe that those who hold the "purse" strings, regardless of wherever they may be, MUST find a way to "RETIRE" all of the debt that THEY have been instrumental in CREATING over the years; the INSTITUTIONAL debt, that is. The people "in the know" KNOW that the FIX IS IN! All of the "losses" suffered by the millions of poor SHLEPS; the John and Jane Q Publics, out there, don't have a proverbial CLUE as to "wha' hoppen?" All that they know is that one minute they are apparently sitting on "easy street" and the next they're in the "po' house", and they can't comprehend the fact that all of this has been "orchestrated" right from the "boardrooms" and the "backrooms", just like they "DO IT" in Congress, the White House, and yes, even the Supreme Court! Everyone "at or even near the top is "going along to get along", plain and simple! Oh, no, many will say; that couldn't be! Our "leaders" wouldn't do that to us! Oh, really! Well, they are doing "that" to us, right now, and you ain't seen NOTHING YET, "BABY"! Who's to say, otherwise. When you have a society which has morphed from "of the people, by the people, and for the people" to "of the rich people, by the rich people, and for the rich people" what else could be the outcome. These "debauchers of our currency" are, in no way, content to enrich themselves the "old fashioned" way, by "earning" it, they are going to "impoverish" every person of any real substance who isn't on the "inside" trading with the rest of the "traders"! All of the parts of the puzzle are coming together, now, aren't they??? I can see it coming together, as I type. I wonder how many others can see the "handwriting" on the wall!

December 18, 2012 at 2:58 am

This isn't a small "I want your money" plee. This is a wage of war against the private global banking companies. The ones that literally own the Federal Reserve. These banks and the families that own it also loan money to Britain, Ireland, Russia and many more. They own these countries because they own the deficit of these countries. These people are waging a new kind of war against them. Interesting

NAFTA Refugee
December 18, 2012 at 2:58 am

Has anyone considered that the McAfee is the problem?

December 18, 2012 at 1:50 am

The attack may or may not be real, I don't know. But the event Thomas describes did not happen. A bank is legally responsible for his money once it is deposited. If they knew "a hacker" stole it from them, they would have to refund his money. It's the law.

December 18, 2012 at 1:17 am

Thomas has a point. If a bank robber goes into a bank and steals cash from the teller window, no one would let the bank get away with trying to debit their account and say "Well, the robber really stole your money, not ours". Why should robbery by computer be any different?

harold K
December 18, 2012 at 1:12 am

All banks should be held responseable for losses. They always have their noses in the air thinking they are the ones that have their (stuff together) and we are just a number. In fact they are the ones that are dropping the ball. They are the ones that are supposed to have the safe guards on (their end!!!!)