Cybercrime in an Interconnected World
We have often mentioned that even if you donâ€™t think your data is valuable, it is to some extent. You may think that you donâ€™t have a high credit card limit or you have limited funds on a debit card. Regardless of your personal wealth, your data is always valuable on the dark market.
Standard Bank in South Africa was reminded of the value of their customersâ€™ credit card numbers this month. More than 200 million South African Rand ($12.7million USD) was stolen from ATMs in Japan. The withdrawals were made almost simultaneously from ATMs located in 7-Eleven stores throughout Tokyo. While it appears that similar attacks took place around the world, the attackers used Japanese ATMs exclusively to steal money from the South African bank.
Itâ€™s estimated that 1600 credit card numbers were stolen. However, the hacker is most likely not the one who used the credit card numbers to steal from ATMs. Since the transactions happened at approximately the same time, itâ€™s likely that the theft was conducted by a group or black market organization that purchased the credit card details from the original hacker. Police believe that as many as 100 people were involved in the ATM withdrawals.
When hackers steal your data, they donâ€™t need to make money by using the credit cards. Instead, they can sell the numbers to a third-party for a fraction of the cardsâ€™ limits. The Japan ATM thieves withdrew the maximum amount allowed, which turned out to be around $1000. When the bank later on marked the transactions as suspicious, the thieves had already walked away with the cash.
This story is just one example illustrating how your data is valuable to an attacker even if you might not think it is. It only costs a couple of hundred dollars to buy a machine that can copy credit card details onto blank cards. By copying the stolen information onto thousands of cards, the attackers were able to steal millions even though each individual card only had a much lower limit.
We predict an increase of this kind of attack over the coming years as banks and especially ATMs become more and more interconnected. Even if you donâ€™t think your specific data is valuable, always take the necessary steps to protect it.