A well-coordinated ATM hacking spree led to the theft of $12.7 million in under two hours

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,000   +130
Staff member

A coordinated hacking spree involving an estimated 100 participants resulted in the successful withdrawal of 1.4 billion yen ($12.7 million) from roughly 1,400 convenience store ATMs in Japan, all within less than two hours.

Authorities believe the group utilized counterfeit credit cards loaded with stolen account data from a South African bank to withdrawal hordes of cash from ATMs in Tokyo and 16 other districts across the country on the morning of May 15.

Sources tell Japan’s The Mainichi that in each of the nearly 14,000 transactions, the maximum amount of money per day – 100,000 yen (around $900) – was taken out. When you do the math, it’s clear to see that this was a well-coordinated attack in which the participants wasted very little time.

It is believed that information was obtained from 1,600 credit cards although it’s unclear exactly how the thieves came into ownership of the account data. One possible answer could be skimmers, external card readers fashioned to look like a legitimate card reader on an ATM. With a large batch of skimmed account data, hackers in South Africa may have sold the data to another group via the black market.

Given the prevalence of security cameras, especially those pointed at ATMs, it seems plausible that at least a few members of the gang may have slipped up and inadvertently revealed identifying characteristics. As of writing, no suspects have been arrested.

Lead photo courtesy Getty Images

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Jack007

Posts: 187   +44
Seems as though the credit card theives are rampant right now. In my country we found 1100 fake credit cards with bank data along with several 100 blank ones and cash and you guessed it two suspects. One of the guys says he is willing to help the bank for a lesser sentence.
 

gregzeng

Posts: 48   +7
Don't keep the secrete to yourself, spread the word. We all need a little extra money.
If you have a bank account, especially a credit card, we ALL are paying indirectly for these thieves. The banks etc will not be making losses. The endusers, all of us, will face increased bank charges.
 

atcapistrano

Posts: 30   +5
I hope these ATM hoodlums get caught. if I'm not mistaken, most ATM account owners belong to the average working class whose wages are just enough for daily living and then some extras.
 

SirGCal

Posts: 365   +138
Don't keep the secrete to yourself, spread the word. We all need a little extra money.
If you have a bank account, especially a credit card, we ALL are paying indirectly for these thieves. The banks etc will not be making losses. The endusers, all of us, will face increased bank charges.

I have multiple accounts with different institutions and haven't paid a single cent to any bank charges in decades.
 

Phr3d

Posts: 404   +87
"Given the prevalence of security cameras, especially those pointed at ATMs, it seems plausible that at least a few members of the gang may have slipped up and inadvertently revealed identifying characteristics."

humbly disagree - spoofing yourself a la equipment and makeup is easy and cheap - if you have the means to rip $900 from enough machines to reach 12.7 Million (over 14,000 times in Two hours), I'm guessing hiding your identity from Known security measures was a yawn.
 

Makson

Posts: 115   +26
Don't keep the secrete to yourself, spread the word. We all need a little extra money.
If you have a bank account, especially a credit card, we ALL are paying indirectly for these thieves. The banks etc will not be making losses. The endusers, all of us, will face increased bank charges.

I have multiple accounts with different institutions and haven't paid a single cent to any bank charges in decades.
Yes you have, all transactions with a plastic card contribute to the banks' profits, plus, any money you have in savings with the bank they make more money in interest than they pay.