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(NECN: Jackie Bruno, Cambridge, Mass.) - It's one of the largest bank heists in history, but get this - it doesn't involve robbers going inside a bank. Instead, it's all done through the Internet. Cyber-criminals took up to $45 million from banking systems.
This is just proving how high tech bank heists have become. Most of the fraud is done through a computer and then all the thief has to do is use a card to drain the ATM, meaning they can make off with millions in minutes.
It’s a bank heist that federal prosecutors are likening to a Hollywood movie.
“Now, this scheme was organized for months and planned down to the minute, reminiscent of the casino heist in ‘Oceans 11,’” said U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch.
These two men are among seven people arrested for operating the New York cell of a tech savvy bank heist that spanned 27 countries. In total, $45 million was stolen out of ATMs, all by hacking into bank databases, eliminating withdrawal limits on pre-paid debit cards and creating new access codes.
They used any card with a magnetic strip—an old hotel key card or an expired credit card—and then were able to drain thousands of ATMs in a matter of hours.
"Today's indictments really represent the trans-national nature of cybercrime and the threat to the global financial systems. The new technologies that were involved in this case, some things we had not seen before,” said Special Agent in Charge, Steven Hughes.
It sounds smart, and it is. What wasn’t so smart was how they documented the crime spree.
These defendants, fond as they were of photography as you can see, were no movie stars; instead they seemed star-struck themselves by the amounts of money they had looted.
Thankfully, no individuals lost money because of this heist, but, prosecutors say it’s just a matter of time until they too are affected.
“So, the consumer really has two issues here: number one, this is an issue of security that affects every institution. It really affects the industry as a whole. And the fact that as these attacks continue, costs are likely to be passed on to them."
So unless authorities are able to find out how they can crack down on these high tech heists before they happen, banks could have to charge consumers more fees in the future to protect their profits from these crimes.