A group of hackers have been caught for hacking into payment systems and stealing $45 million through the use of prepaid debit cards.
Eight men, seven of which are in custody and one assumed to be dead, pulled off one of the most profitable bank heists in the digital age. The New York-based robbers worked together to hack into various banking systems to remove the withdrawal limits on debit cards. Then, in a coordinated effort with recruits worldwide, the hackers withdrew millions of dollars from over two dozen countries all at once.
In their most concerted effort, the group stole $40 million through ATMs and other fraudulent transactions. The New York group alone withdrew some $2.4 million from about 3,000 ATMs, and it took them just about an hour and a half to get it all done.
Reportedly, the group of hackers targeted weaknesses in how banks and payment processors handle prepaid debit cards. As the name suggests, prepaid debit cards have a limit placed on them, which is usually the amount that a card is loaded with. Once a card’s account was successfully hacked, cloned cards were sent out worldwide, and through coordination the group took to the ATMs and began the cash out.
According to the press release, the hackers targeted two banks that processed online payments for the prepaid MasterCard debit card. One of which is the National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah PSC in United Arab Emirates, and the other was the Bank of Muscat in Oman.
Seven of the men have been charged with various fraud and money laundering charges, and will have to face anywhere between 10 to 20 years in prison.