Fraud Prevention ATM Heist

Cyber theft ring scoffs at fraud prevention in $45 million heist

Airtight fraud prevention is not possible but just how vulnerable are we if thieves can heist $45 million in a matter of hours?

We recently got a taste of the possible consequences of unchecked hacker prowess following an ATM scam of catastrophic proportions. An international group of thieves managed to walk away with money from the prepaid debit cards of innocent users in countries all over the world.

U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch announced charges against eight defendants on Thursday. Thieves hacked into banks’ systems in the United Arab Emirates and Oman to increase the amount available on pre-paid MasterCard debit cards. Then they used those cards to withdraw money from ATMs. This heist shows that cyber security in the global financial system is only as strong as the weakest link, and the weakest link in this an other breaches is usually a human being.
While the hackers were sophisticated in gathering and manipulating information within the banks, common criminals made the ATM withdrawals. Lynch described the group as a “virtual criminal flash mob.” states that during the first attack in December 2012, the New York group allegedly withdrew $400,000 in 750 separate ATM transactions in more than 140 different NY locations in less than three hours.

Though eight of the members involved have been caught and police throughout the world are working to put this right, the sheer technical scope of the attack shows how sophisticated hackers have become.

We simply don’t have adequate human fraud prevention measures in place to stop incidents like thisInstead, we are preoccupied with the technology element and overlook the default settings that made the breach a breeze in the first place.

The first law of cyber security is that you must train the humans on basic fraud prevention. Otherwise, you are expecting a dangerous car to drive itself.

John Sileo is fraud prevention expert and in-demand speaker on identity theft, mobile security and online privacy. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer, Visa, and Homeland Security. See his recent media appearances on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper and Fox Business.