A previously unknown ring of Russian-speaking hackers has stolen as much as $10 million from U.S. and Russian banks in the last 18 months, according to a Moscow-based cyber-security firm that runs the largest computer forensics laboratory in eastern Europe.
The MoneyTaker group broke into 20 systems, which includes 15 U.S. lenders, targeting ATMs with “mules” and Russia’s interbank money-transfer system, Group-IB said in a report provided to Bloomberg.
The hackers, who also breached a U.K. software and service provider, are now probing institutions in Latin America and may be trying to compromise the Swift international bank messaging service, according to the privately held security firm, whose clients range from Russia’s biggest lender Sberbank to Raiffeisen Bank International. Group-IB last month signed an agreement with Interpol to share data on threat intelligence and the latest cyber-criminal activities.
“Criminals have changed tactics and are now focusing on banks rather than their clients, as was standard operating procedure in the past,” Dmitry Volkov, the head of Group-IB’s cyber intelligence department, said by phone.
Russia, considered a hotbed of government-backed information attacks, increasingly finds itself a victim of cybercrime. It was initially blamed for the Badrabbit ransomware virus that spread to more than 200 targets globally, even though some of the biggest disruptions affected Russian businesses.
Since its first successful breach in May 2016, MoneyTaker has stolen from banks in New York, California, Utah and Moscow, primarily targeting smaller institutions with limited cyber defenses, Group-IB found. The average haul from U.S. banks was about $500,000, and it stole over $3 million from three Russian lenders.
(c) 2017, Bloomberg · Jake Rudnitsky