MOSCOW (dpa) – The gang behind a wave of online banking thefts of up to 1 billion dollars in losses is still active, according to the Russian information technology security specialist Kaspersky Lab on Monday.
Most of the financial institutions that were targeted are in Eastern Europe, but the gang suspected of being behind the thefts, Carbanak, has broadened its activity to include Malaysia and Kuwait as well as a few regions of Africa, Kaspersky Lab said.
Kaspersky Lab, Russia’s largest maker of antivirus software, posted an account of its involvement in investigating the theft at its blog website securelist.com on Monday. It said Carbanak is suspected of carrying out thefts that occurred at up to 100 financial institutions in 30 countries.
The company said the online bank robbers placed a type of software called malware on the computer systems of the banks it targeted and used it to manipulate account balances. They then withdrew the money from automatic teller machines (ATMs).
It said each bank robbery took two-to-four months from the day the malware infected the first computer to the cash payouts.
Kaspersky Lab said it got involved in the investigation when a Ukrainian bank asked for help after noticing money being mysteriously stolen from ATMs.
The first thefts occurred in February last year. The peak of the activity was reached in June.
Kaspersky Lab didn’t name the banks that were attacked. According to the security company, the cyber gangsters were able to get their hands on money in about every second case it attempted.