In an intelligence note, FBI officials say a mix of banking Trojans and phishing attacks has plagued victims - mainly public institutions and small and midsize businesses - to the tune of $100 million in attempted losses as of October.
Malware and phishing schemes
targeting online bankers have spurred a jump in Automated Clearing
House (ACH) fraud that has led to $100 million in attempted losses as
of October, according to the FBI.In an intelligence note released earlier this week by the Internet
Crime Complaint Center (IC3), the FBI said that it is seeing several
new complaints opened every week as cyber-criminals continue to up the
ante. Many of the victims are small and midsize businesses, as well as
court systems, schools and other public institutions, authorities said.
"Within the last several months, the FBI has seen a significant
increase in fraud involving the exploitation of valid online banking
credentials belonging to small and medium businesses, municipal
governments, and school districts," the agency said in a statement.
According to the feds, the typical scenario involves
the victims receiving a phishing e-mail with an infected attachment or
malicious link. If the recipient falls for the trick, they end up
downloading a key logger that swipes their business or corporate bank
account credentials. The thieves then create another user account with
the stolen data and begin transferring funds via traditional wire
transfers and ACH transfers while pretending to be the legitimate user."Further
reporting has shown that the transfers are directed to the bank
accounts of willing or unwitting individuals within the United States,"
the FBI said. "Most of these individuals have been recruited via
work-at-home advertisements, or have been contacted after placing
resumes on well-known job search Websites."According to the IC3
- which is a partnership between the FBI, National White Collar Crime
Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance - the FBI analysis
shows that the victims' accounts are often held at local community
banks and credit unions, some of which use third-party service
providers to process ACH transactions."FBI interviews revealed that the threat stems not only from the malware involved in
these cases, but the vulnerabilities presented by the lack of controls
at the financial institution or third-party provider level," according
to IC3. "For instance, in several cases banks did not have proper
firewalls installed, nor antivirus software on their servers or their
desktop computers. The lack of defense-in-depth at the smaller
institution/service provider level has created a threat to the ACH
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