It looks like Bonnie and Clyde have gone high tech. While traditional bank robberies still abound, a more clandestine threat to financial institutions has risen to the top of banking security concerns over the past five years: bank robbing botnets. And while bank robberies are traditionally handled by local authorities, this new trend is taking an international coalition of cybersecurity firms and law enforcement agencies to stop it.
This past month, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that law enforcement has stopped a hacking operation that used malware to infect computers worldwide and steal at least $10 million from the United States alone.
The malicious software known as “Bugat,” “Cridex” or “Dridex,” which was first discovered in 2010, spies on people’s Web browsing, intercepts their banking credentials, and sends them back to hackers who then use those credentials to siphon money from their bank accounts. Its delivery to unsuspecting consumers was primarily via corporate email accounts.
The takedown of the malware distribution network was conducted by agents from the FBI and various European law enforcement agencies, who were supported in their investigation and stoppage by Dell SecureWorks and other cybersecurity companies.
Now is not the time for corporations or banking institutions to let down their guard. Staying on top of network security – including email security, virus and malware protection, and password protection – is going to be a key concern for protecting corporate and consumer assets for a long time to come.