How Does a Bank Heist Happen?

While technology has made everyday life more convenient, it has also opened up a whole new world of crime. Current security measures make it nearly impossible for someone to pull off a bank robbery without being apprehended, but many banks have cybersecurity weaknesses that leave them open to cyber attacks. Banks and companies can use the information on major heists to protect their assets and prepare for possible future attacks.

How Hackers Prepare for a Cyber Heist

There’s no shortage of recent events on successful and attempted bank heists. Lazarus, a group of North Korean hackers, led an unsuccessful attempt to steal $110 million from a Mexican bank. By scaling down their efforts and spreading them across multiple banks, hackers got away with up to $20 million just months later.

The security measures utilized by many international banks are insufficient when they’re put up against the knowledge and persistence of hackers. In general, attackers target common security holes in systems. By exploiting multiple weaknesses simultaneously, the likelihood of at least one security measure failing completely increases substantially—and it only takes one failure for hackers to get away with millions before the weakness is fixed.

Exploitation of Vulnerabilities

There are several vulnerabilities hackers may explore to pull off a bank heist. To gain access to internal systems, hackers may use compromised credentials and tap into the system as an employee. They use similar measures to access bank systems through customer credentials. When compromised credentials aren’t readily available, phishing attacks often yield results.

Network segmentation is another vulnerability frequently utilized by hackers. When a network isn’t well segmented, hackers can use one point of access to get access to a shocking amount of information within the bank’s servers.

Another point of weakness in many bank systems is transaction data. Unprotected transactions are easy to manipulate, giving hackers the freedom to avoid detection and get away with more. Hackers can also exploit SPEI validation. By transferring money from nonexistent accounts and withdrawing the cash before the falsified transactions were discovered, they were able to get away with millions.

Preventing Cyber Attacks

In the wake of major attacks, experts are able to uncover major weaknesses. In many cases, they are issues that should have been addressed long before the actual attack. Every attack serves as a wake-up call—corporations need to develop security policies and actually enforce those policies to protect themselves against attacks.

Responding to a Cyber Attack

After an attack, you need to act immediately to recover stolen assets and protect against further damage. STARNet, with members across the globe, can move quickly to locate and recover stolen funds. If your institution has been targeted, we’re here to help. Contact STARNet now to find a firm near you and get started.

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STARNet, which is short for Stolen Asset Recovery Network, is a global alliance of independent law firms created to provide financial institutions and governments with multi-disciplinary services across countries and jurisdictions for locating, freezing, and ultimately recovering stolen assets related to cyber heists, fraud or corruption.

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