Hackers stole over $1.2 bn from banks and financial institutions: Kaspersky Lab

Security company Kaspersky Lab has said that hackers have stolen over $1.2 billion from several banks and financial institutions in the past two years, across 30 countries, including Russia, US, Germany, China, Ukraine and Canada, www.abc.net.au reported.

The Russia-based cyber security firm said it had been investigating with Interpol to track down the criminals.

The attackers did not even need to get into the bank's services; on entering the network, they learned how to hide the money transaction activities behind particular actions, according to the firm.

Kaspersky said a group of multi-national hackers from Russia, China, Ukraine and parts of Europe used a type of virus known as Carbanak malware to access bank employee computers and ultimately get inside their networks.

On gaining access, they mimicked the actions of cash transfer staff after watching how they operated and then transferred money from the bank into off-shore accounts, or ordered the bank's ATMs to dispense cash to a waiting criminal.

The targets were mostly central accounts as opposed to customer accounts and usually around $10 million was stolen in each raid.

According to ANZ, it was not affected, while the other three big Australian banks, the Commonwealth, Westpac and National Australia Bank declined to comment on this particular attack.

Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, a major global player in the cybersecurity industry, is a familiar name to Boston sports fans through its advertising on New England Patriots broadcasts, www.bostonglobe.com reported.

Reports now say the same gang of internet criminals that Kaspersky reported might also have masterminded the theft last year of about 1.2 million credit card numbers from Framingham-based Staples Inc, the office supply chain.

Kaspersky Lab was founded by Eugene Kaspersky, who was a military cryptographer for the former Soviet Union.

He was trained as a hacker, according to Stu Sjouwerman, chief executive of the computer security training firm KnowBe4 LLC in Clearwater, Florida.