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Half a meellion euros stolen in week-long bank smash 'n' grab

No need for subtlety as attackers hack and empty 190 accounts

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Attackers have pulled off a lucrative lightning raid on a single beleaguered bank stealing half a million euros in a week, Kaspersky researchers say.

The crims stole between €17,000 and €39,000 from each of 190 Italian and Turkish bank accounts, with a single continuous attack.

Man-in-the-middle attackers used stolen bank login details to transfer money to mule accounts before cashing out at ATMs around 20 January this year.

Kaspersky researchers found evidence of the manic raid, dubbed "Luuuk" in a command and control server and suggested one of a series of established and sophisticated trojans such as Zeus, Citadel or SpyEye were used.

"We believe the malware used in this campaign could be a Zeus flavour using sophisticated web injects on the victims,” principal security bod Vicente Diaz said in a research note entitled The Luuuk banking fraud campaign: half a million euros stolen in a single week (PDF).

The attackers wiped the compromised command and control server as part of what Kaspersky suggested was careful track-covering. The researchers said the attackers were very active and would be unlikely to have terminated their profitable fraud scheme because of the Kaspersky discovery.

The mules who funnelled the stolen cash were entrusted with differing transfer limits from €1750 to €50,000 depending on the trust afforded to each by the fraud masterminds, researchers suggested.

"We know that members of these schemes often cheat their partners in crime and abscond with the money they were supposed to cash," Diaz said. "The Luuuk’s bosses may be trying to hedge against these losses by setting up different groups with different levels of trust: the more money a drop is asked to handle, the more he is trusted."

The raid was notable in the short time taken to steal account details and retrieve cash from ATMs. The infamous theft of 170 million credit cards from TJX between 2005 to 2007 remained the largest fraud in history. ®

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