Seven men are in custody for allegedly participating in a global cybercrime ring. A global cybercrime ring which is apparently responsible for stealing over $45 million from financial institutions across the globe in 10 hours.
The robbers didn't use guns, and they didn't have get-away vans in the traditional sense; they had programs, the Internet and the organizational know-how to strike concern into cyber security experts across the globe.
The suspects started their cyber-heist by infiltrating bank card processing companies dealing with prepaid debit card data. The prepaid cards made at these companies are typically finite in funds, and are widely used by employers and charitable organizations according to a U.S. attorney's office press release. The hackers would steal the card data, eliminate the withdrawal limits on the cards and have casher teams siphon the money from A.T.M.s around the world.
"Moving as swiftly as data over the Internet, the organization worked its way from the computer systems of international corporations to the streets of New York City, with the defendants fanning out across Manhattan to steal millions of dollars from hundreds of A.T.M.'s in a matter of hours," Loretta E. Lynch, the United States attorney in Brooklyn, said in a news release.
The casher teams were quick: officials claim the suspected eight-man team in New York managed to steal from over 140 Manhattan A.T.M.s in only 2.5 hours, netting a $400,000 haul.
The first theft came on Dec. 22, 2012, stealing $5 million in 4,500 A.T.M. withdrawals in over 20 countries. The second theft, taking place on February 19 and 20 of this year, netted $40 million over a period of 10 hours.
The money was used to buy luxury goods, such as Mercedes SUVs and Rolex watches, after laundering the money.
Thefts of this type aren't particularly difficult to execute, Time Magazine reports, mainly because of lax security overseas and the continued use of magnetic strip cards in the U.S. Other countries typically use cards with built-in chips, which are more secure and difficult to copy. But the continued use of magnetic strips in the U.S. has caused banks around the world to continue to accept stripped-based cards.
There was an eighth suspect in the case: the suspected ringleader of the group, Alberto Yusi Lajud-Pena, who managed to avoid capture by U.S. authorities according to The New York Times. In April, he was found dead in the Dominican Republic, a manila envelope with $100,000 cash inside was lying nearby.