It’s alleged that a network of bank robbers in a global conspiracy have combined cyber-crime and real-world cash theft to get away with $45 in cash.
Expert Etay Maor of the Trusteer cyber-security company told FI Editor Peter Warren:
“They found a way to generate pre-paid debit cards and to duplicate the magnetic stripes.” That, he says, is a fairly traditional form of counterfeiting. But then it’s alleged the gang added their cyber-skills..
“And on top of that they found a way to break into the account details and raise the limit on the amount of cash that can be withdrawn. Such co-ordination is amazing. Around a hundred people were involved”
The defendants under arrest in the United States are Jael Mejia Collado, Joan Luis Minier Lara, Evan Jose Peña, Jose Familia Reyes, Elvis Rafael Rodriguez, Emir Yasser Yeje, and Chung Yu-Holguin, all of whom are residents of Yonkers in New York.
An eighth suspect, Alberto Yusi Lajud-Peña, was shot dead on April 27th in the Dominican Republic. All of the living defendants are in their early twenties except one who is thirty-five.
US Attorney Loretta Lynch said the mass cashpoint robberies in New York took only a few hours.
Trusteer’s Etay Maor says the network used different groups of people who would not come into contact with each other, since cash can be collected and sent anonymously.
” The ones lower in the food chain will not know who the bosses are. But you will have a group in the middle creating the magnetic strips and another working on the hacking, as well as the mules who draw out the cash. The target banks are in the Middle East and the cyber attacks are thought to originate in India.”
Oman-based Bank of Muscat and the Rakbank in the United Arab Emirates were the targeted and an international manhunt continues, with more arrests likely.