Russian police have arrested 50 members of an alleged cyber-crime ring that stole more than 3 billion rubles ($45 million) from banks, the country’s biggest ever crackdown on financial hackers.
The gang used malware to create networks of infected computers to launch 18 targeted attacks against Russian banks and state entities over the past year, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on its website. Police were able to prevent another 2.3 billion rubles of losses, it said. The individual banks weren’t identified.
“As far as I know, this is the largest ever arrest of hackers in Russia,” said Ruslan Stoyanov, head of computer incidents investigation at Kaspersky Lab, which helped to identify the hackers and collect evidence. “Russia is tightening its grip on financial hacking.”
Banks around the world are falling victim to ever more audacious cyber heists. Thieves exploited weaknesses in how banks connect to Swift, the global payments network, to steal $81 million from Bangladesh’s central bank in February and $12 million from an Ecuadorean bank in January 2015. Investigators are examining possible computer breaches at as many as 12 other banks linked to Swift’s system.