The top 5 online heists: Don't be a victim | Cult of Mac

The top 5 online heists: Don’t be a victim

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Top five online heists: Dashlane can help you avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime.
Dashlane can help you avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime.
Photo: Richard Patterson/Flickr CC

This online security post is presented by Dashlane.

Ocean’s 11-style capers, whether in movies or in the real world, are a lot more colorful than the typical online heist. But they are usually a lot less lucrative than real-life cybercrimes. The top online thefts in recent history netted copious amounts of cash or financial data. And despite increasing sophistication, hackers sitting at their keyboards often have a considerably easier time of it than George Clooney’s all-star cast of super-grifters did in the movie.

If the top five online heists described below don’t make you feel the acute need to review your own personal online financial security, they should.

Top 5 online heists

5. Home Depot coughs up data from 50 million credit cards. Ultimate take unknown; costs to the company to compensate victims and bolster security estimated at $161 million.

Bigger data breaches than the one that struck retailer Home Depot in 2014 have struck companies in recent years, but not all of them have involved every crucial piece of customers’ credit card information. In 2014, hackers gained access to Home Depot’s system by posing as vendors online. Then the thieves installed malware made to look like antivirus software on the company’s point-of-sale system. That allowed them to directly capture data transmitted every time a customer swiped a credit card.

4. “Bandidos” take down Mexican banks for $5 million to $20 million per month.

In January 2018, Mexican authorities staved off an attempt by the Lazarus Group, allegedly tied to North Korea, to steal $110 million from Mexican banks. Ironically, within months a homegrown group called Bandidos Revolutions Team stole millions using the same tactics. The group created fake accounts at various banks, transferred cash to them, then rapidly deployed accomplices on the ground to pull big-time dinero out of ATMs at branch offices. This culminated in the nation’s biggest-ever heist in April 2018, about $20 million.

3. North Korean agents pull off Bangladeshi bank heist for $81 million (and many other “jobs” for hundreds of millions more).

When you hear hackers scored big off the Bangladesh Central Bank, you might think, OK, no great shock that a system on the Indian subcontinent might not have bleeding-edge security. But who administered the cash-laden accounts in question? The Federal Reserve Bank of New York! And did we mention the hackers were North Korean operatives? (Turns out that country’s Reconnaissance General Bureau, or RGB, has bagged at least $650 million through hacking banks in recent years.)

Having already compromised the bank in Bangladesh, the Pyongyang-based thieves waited for a Friday, when most Bangladeshis are off work, to pose virtually as bank staff. They sent rafts of transfer requests to the Fed. In response, the Fed zipped cash to accounts overseas, mostly in the Philippines. Collaborators quickly withdrew the money and laundered it through casinos. To be fair to the Fed, the thieves tried for almost $1 billion, but most transfers were blocked by suspicious staff. And yet $81 million isn’t a bad take for one bank job, is it?

2. Carbanak gang takes banks and others worldwide for $1.2 billion.

In March 2018, an international team of crime fighters finally brought down the boss behind one of the biggest heists the world has ever seen. Since 2013, the Carbanak and Cobalt malware attacks on more than 100 institutions in 40 countries had pilfered $1.2 billion. The cybercrime syndicate used phishing emails opened by employees of various banks and institutions to launch malware that could control infected machines. The malware gave the criminals access to networks, accounts whose balances they could artificially inflate, and cash machines. Collaborators picked up cash from ATMs instructed to spit it out at certain times. Then the thieves laundered the filthy lucre through cryptocurrency transactions.

1. The biggest online heist in history is whenever it happens to you. This is where Dashlane can help.

The moment you realize those high-ticket-item purchases on your credit card bill aren’t yours, or that your bank account is lighter than last month for no apparent reason, your heart sinks. Realizing someone has grabbed your money by manipulating a bunch of ones and zeros online is crushing. You feel helpless, and knowing you could have prevented it only makes things worse. So why not take control now, before you become a victim? You may never fall victim to crimes as major as the top five online heists, but any crime is a big deal when it happens to you.

Dashlane, the official password manager of Cult of Mac, is a crucial tool that helps protect your identity as well as your money online. It generates and remembers a strong, unique password for every website you use, including banks and brokerages. It features alerts that help you stay secure, and an online wallet that auto-fills your sensitive data so you need not type it. The premium version includes a virtual private network for anonymous web surfing and a Dark Web Monitoring service that tells you when your information has been compromised. In short, Dashlane helps keep you off the lists of victims of online financial crimes.

Price: Free, with premium subscription options

Download from Dashlane: Get a free 30-day trial of Dashlane Premium