Hackers Steal $13.5 Million From Cosmos Bank in India

Written by Nitish Singh
Published on August 18, 2018

The Federal Bureau of Investigation put out a warning about a large-scale banking fraud that is set to affect a large number of countries all over the globe recently. One of the first victims of the operation is Cosmos Bank from Pune, India. Cybercriminals have stolen $11.5 million through fraudulent ATM transactions and another $2 million through bank transfers on behalf of account holders using stolen information.

Cosmos Bank disclosed the details of the attack which falls in line with what the report by the FBI predicted. The cybercriminals coordinated unlimited attacks across 28 countries and removed fraud controls that were in place to prevent fraudulent transactions. Once the security measures were disabled, the attackers used cloned ATM cards to make withdrawals. The attackers also removed transaction limits in place, allowing them to steal any amount of money without alerting the bank through automated systems.

A news report states “The bank came to know about the malware attack on its debit card payment system on August 11, when it was observed that unusually repeated transactions were taking place through ATM VISA and Rupay Card for nearly two hours.”

Cosmos Bank revealed that the cybercriminals did not access the bank’s systems that were tied to customers’ accounts and the money was stolen from operating accounts owned by the bank instead. The bank is laying the blame on the payment gateway for their VISA/Rupay Debit cards. Customers’ bank accounts are safe from the attackers as of now, and they need not worry about any financial loss.

Incidents similar to the Cosmos Bank heist are expected in the near future, and the FBI has recommended financial institutions to fully secure their encryption systems to minimize the chances of an attack. With large-scale attacks increasing across the globe, a large number of financial institutions may be affected in the near future.

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