Feeds

Bank Muscat hit by $39m ATM cash-out heist

Duplicated cards fingered

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Cybercrooks have pulled off a $39m ATM heist against a bank in Oman using pre-paid travel cards.

Bank Muscat put out a statement through the Muscat Securities Market admitting the loss:

12 Bank Muscat prepaid Travel Cards were compromised on February 20, 2013. The gross value of transactions on these cards, which were compromised outside of Oman, was RO 15 million. No customers have suffered any financial loss and no other credit or debit cards issued by Bank Muscat have been affected. The Bank is working with all stakeholders to further investigate and to establish any losses arising from these transactions. We will inform the market of any material developments.

Bank card experts told the The Times of Oman that fraudsters must have bought the travel cards and duplicated them several times before using them from multiple locations outside the country.

It's possible that the sultanate's biggest bank may have been hacked. The cards were used in 10 to 15 locations on a single day, the paper added.

Impairment charges likely to arise as a result of the theft (assuming funds are not recovered) represent 10.5 per cent of Bank Muscat’s estimated 2013 earnings, United Securities said in a note, Reuters reports.

Security blogger Brian Krebs noted that the heist, which involved re-loadable prepaid debit cards tied to accounts in the Arab bank, is similar to two December 2012 cash-out operations that collectively netted $11m. And before that, there was a $13m fraud against Fidelity National Information Services early in 2012 and a $9m sting against RBS Worldpay in December 2008 involving counterfeit payroll debit cards, Krebs added.

Hackers used compromised access to RBS Worldpay systems to increase the withdrawal limits on the counterfeit debit cards under their control as well as other trickery involving siphoning stolen funds into accounts linked to the dodgy cards.

"These events have been caused by intrusions into the processing systems used to process the prepaid cards, and the transaction limits are overridden on a group of cards, the hackers clone these cards and engage 'Smurfs' to make repetitive ATM withdrawals on these card accounts on a Friday night right after the ATMs have been loaded with cash for the weekend," explained Terrence P Maher, general counsel to the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association.

"Risk mitigation starts with strict adherence to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, to prevent such intrusions. As a back-up, the banks need to have insurance coverage for cyber-intrusion, to protect them against large losses," he added. ®

Bootnote

Thanks to Reg reader Adam for highlighting the e-heist.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.