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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
Notyet
December 18, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Cathy, because like you we have this haos in economy. For you information, ones you creadit card account is closed and new card has been issues it goes on your credit report as account closed and for some reason it stays as a negative information.
What we need is a customer service which was 20 years ago, when customer was first and when issue raised money getting debited to your account without questions asked. We do not need investigations and we do not need to call to company who charged your card. Our card relationship is between us and credit card company, period. Credit card companies must stop shifting their work to shoulders of their customers. People wake up, how much more can you take froim freeking american corporate???

steve johnson
December 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Yesterday I got a mysterious automatic computer call from a local number attempting to collect on a debt that was two months behind on a credit card attached to my Citibank account. I keep credit cards and bank accounts entirely separate so the request was suspicious. I was asked to pay $90.00 automatically and save the normal cost of an electronic transfer if only I would provide the necessary banking information (the hustle). The computer system offered instructions in several languages and was willing to wait while I found the information. I hung up. I noticed the number did not show up as an incoming call. I could not report it. Later when I checked the bank did not show any such past obligation. It was all a trick...and a new one to me.

RP
December 18, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Nothing new here. Credit cards lose hundreds of millions a year to fraud already. Cost of doing business. Yawn.

Mark E
December 18, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Doesn't matter because on the 21st we are all going the way of the Myan's! I saw an article on this topic a few weeks ago and banks were named. Bank of America, US Bank and all the biggies we know, but also many of the major brokerage firms were named as well.

Tommy
December 18, 2012 at 3:54 pm

We are all going to die!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MAG
December 18, 2012 at 2:03 pm

THINK THE GYM AND THOSE BANK EMPLOYER IS THE WORST ONE ESPECIALLY BANK OF AMERICA. WHAT EVER IS ON SALE I BUY IT... WETHER I LOOK LIKE SOUTHENER OR NORTHENER ..WHEN PEPSE IS ON SALE I BUY IT. WHEN COKE IS ON SALE I BUY IT. DON'T LOOK AT ME LIKE WHICH SIDE ARE YOU. THESE IS THE FIRST TIME I SAID THAT. WHAT DO YOU MEAN DUPLICATE.. I'M THE ONE WHO'S BEING PLAGIARZE BUT THRY POLITICIZE IT.

MAG
December 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm

THINK THE GYM AND THOSE BANK EMPLOYER IS THE WORST ONE ESPECIALLY BANK OF AMERICA. WHAT EVER IS ON SALE I BUY IT... WETHER I LOOK LIKE SOUTHENER OR NORTHENER ..WHEN PEPSE IS ON SALE I BUY IT. WHEN COKE IS ON SALE I BUY IT. DON'T LOOK AT ME LIKE WHICH SIDE ARE YOU.

Robert Gray
December 18, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Like they're going to reveal the names of the bank, start a run on them, and then be held liable. Riiight.

Michael
December 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm

My Amex has been hacked into twice in a month. Someone 3000 miles away tried to make big purchase, and on my Visa through Chase someone from England tried the same thing. I am already a victim of this new threat and I believe it could be the real downfall of our infrastructure.

Cathy
December 18, 2012 at 1:10 pm

My credit union notified me that my credit card may have been compromised and immediately closed that account and issued me a new card. That is the kind of customer service we should all expect from our financial institutions.