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Flash Mob Steals $9 Million From ATMs

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the viral-ad-for-ocean's-one-hundred-thirty dept.

Security 232

Mike writes "A global flash mob of ATM thieves netted $9 million in fraud against ATMs in 49 cities around the world. The computer system for a company called RBS WorldPay was hacked. One service of the company is the ability for employers to pay employees with the money going directly to a debit card that can be used in any ATM. The hacker was able to infiltrate the supposedly secure system and steal the information necessary to duplicate or clone people's ATM cards. Shortly after midnight Eastern Time on November 8, the FBI believes that dozens of the so-called cashers were used in a coordinated attack on ATMs around the world. Over 130 different ATMs in 49 cities worldwide were accessed in a 30-minute period on November 8. 'We've never seen one this well coordinated,' the FBI said. So far, the FBI has no suspects and has made no arrests (PDF) in this scam."

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cough (5, Funny)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765319)

in other news a flash mob recovered all the rights that have been stolen from the people by their governments over the last few years

Re:cough (2, Interesting)

mishehu (712452) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765413)

Man, if only it were so...

Re:cough (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766451)

Wow, that comment was both powerful and funny at the same time.

Re:cough (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26766613)

Obama is in office, you can stop saying things like that. He's going to fix everything, the internet told me so. ;)

Inquiring minds want to know (1)

Faust (78492) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765321)

Did he hack the bank across state lines from his home?

Re:Inquiring minds want to know (2, Funny)

daniel_newby (1335811) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765495)

Nah, his brains aren't in his ass.

Re:Inquiring minds want to know (1)

d4nowar (941785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765703)

Richard Gill will come for his children.

Re:Inquiring minds want to know (4, Insightful)

Jim Efaw (3484) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766781)

Did he hack the bank across state lines from his home?

That's not a requirement for a federal crime in the US; theft from any federally insured bank (which is almost all of them) is a U.S. federal crime, even if the crime occurred in only one state and even if the bank operates under a state charter.

And the money went where? (5, Insightful)

Hieronymus.N (865735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765327)

So, were they on the honor system to funnel the cash back to the 'hacker'? Or was this like winning the lottery?

Re:And the money went where? (5, Interesting)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765691)

It was probably structured like a lot of the stolen credit-card number sites: a high-reputation user announces an opportunity, then many other users pay up-front to participate. At the given time, the critical info is released to all, and it's then every man for himself trying to grab as much money as possible.

Re:And the money went where? (5, Informative)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765811)

I went and RTFA. Given 130+ ATMs in 50 cities, definitely looks like the sell-it model, not a massive criminal organization: very high fan-out (50 cities) and low leaf count (about 3 ATMs per second level node.) That shape is never seen in ongoing organized businesses - they should have a much more uniform hierarchical structure (e.g. 50 cities = 2500 ATMs.)

Re:And the money went where? (3, Interesting)

beckerist (985855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766245)

Agreed. This sounds more like the structure of Al-Qaeda or one of those "buy my book that shows you how to sell your own 'how to sell your own book' book!" than any sort of corporate or open scheme.

Re:And the money went where? (5, Interesting)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766329)

Two excellent analogies. I've been looking at corporations (in the broad sense) for 30 years, and it took me a long time to realize that you might as well ignore what people say about how they organize, and just look at what the organization actually is. That tells you almost everything you need to know.

Looking at their photos... (5, Funny)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765717)

They don't look like someone who just won a lottery to me.

They look more like homeless people.
Which brings up the question - why aren't there more homeless people robbing banks out there?

I mean... they are in a clear advantage.
They are invisible AND they have nothing to lose.
Worst case scenario - they get sent to a jail. HA!
3 meals a day, clothing, housing and health-care at the cost of the society.

Re:Looking at their photos... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26765829)

It's okay. Many homeless are mentally ill, possibly from the PTSD they got from Vietnam. They got so screwed up in our nation's defense that they couldn't come up with such an elaborate scheme. So we really have nothing to worry about! All is as it should be in America.

Re:Looking at their photos... (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766095)

Homeless do rob banks. When I was on vacation in Hawaii few years back, I remember reading in local paper that a homeless person robbed a bank (lot of homeless there). Of course they were caught jsut like about everyone else.

Re:Looking at their photos... (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766383)

Which brings up the question - why aren't there more homeless people robbing banks out there?

Because robbing banks requires at least a modicum of ability, some organizational skill, and a bit of motivation. If you've got all of the above, you're unlikely to be homeless in the first place.

Re:Looking at their photos... (1)

brusk (135896) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766469)

A getaway car helps too.

Re:Looking at their photos... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26766599)

Ah, yes, because every homeless person is exactly like one another, and it's all their own fault for being poor and homeless.

How's the cake?

Re:Looking at their photos... (4, Insightful)

Guido von Guido (548827) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766797)

Which brings up the question - why aren't there more homeless people robbing banks out there?

Because robbing banks requires at least a modicum of ability, some organizational skill, and a bit of motivation. If you've got all of the above, you're unlikely to be homeless in the first place.

Gotta disagree. Homelessness doesn't correlate well with a lack of ability or organizational skill, or even lack of motivation. It does, however, correlate well with heavy addiction and mental illness, both of which make it pretty damn hard to use one's ability or organizational skills.

Re:Looking at their photos... (4, Interesting)

jschen (1249578) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766557)

Reminds me of a news story where someone held up a bank for $20, then waited for the police and turned himself in. In court, he asked to be put in prison until the end of the year in order to save money. In the news article I read, the judge said something to the effect of "It's not the best financial planning, but at least there's a plan."

I blame adobe (-1, Offtopic)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765337)

n/t

How's this a flash mob? (4, Insightful)

Fumus (1258966) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765345)

I thought flash mobs are groups of people in the same place at the same time. Not all over the world?

Re:How's this a flash mob? (5, Interesting)

bluesatin (1350681) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765425)

I thought flash mobs are groups of people in the same place at the same time. Not all over the world?

By the name, I suppose a flash mob suggests a mob of people doing something 'in a flash' (in a short period of time).

A mob doesn't necessarily have to be in the same spot, at least it doesn't have to be the way I understand it.

Perhaps in the past a mob would have to be in the same location, but due to the way the world is all interlinked nowadays someone can affect something on the otherside of the world, meaning the world has gotten a lot 'smaller' as such.

How is it a mob at all? (1, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765601)

mobâ
noun, adjective, verb, mobbed, mobâ...bing.
â"noun
1. a disorderly or riotous crowd of people.
2. a crowd bent on or engaged in lawless violence.
3. any group or collection of persons or things.
4. the common people; the masses; populace or multitude.
5. a criminal gang, esp. one involved in drug trafficking, extortion, etc.
______

I don't see a crowd here.

Re:How is it a mob at all? (1)

bluesatin (1350681) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765715)

mobâ
noun, adjective, verb, mobbed, mobâ...bing.
â"noun
1. a disorderly or riotous crowd of people.
2. a crowd bent on or engaged in lawless violence.
3. any group or collection of persons or things.
4. the common people; the masses; populace or multitude.
5. a criminal gang, esp. one involved in drug trafficking, extortion, etc.
______

I don't see a crowd here.

Number 3 is probably more applicable in this case, a group of people have been exploiting this security flaw to their advantage.

And since it seems to be a co-ordinated attack, a group of people seems an applicable word to describe them.

Re:How is it a mob at all? (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765725)

3 and 5 seem to apply.

Re:How is it a mob at all? (1)

Al Al Cool J (234559) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766761)

Yeah, but any time people have to consult a dictionary to justify a writer's choice of words, then the writer has failed to do their job. Good writers choose their words very carefully, taking into account what the readers might read into it.

No matter what the dictionary says, if a significant number of readers believe you have chosen the wrong words to describe something, then you have chosen the wrong words to describe it.

Re:How is it a mob at all? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26765773)

I don't see a crowd here.

zoom out.

Re:How is it a mob at all? (1)

eat here_get gas (907110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766467)

mobâ noun, adjective, verb, mobbed, mobâ...bing. â"noun 1. a disorderly or riotous crowd of people. 2. a crowd bent on or engaged in lawless violence. 3. any group or collection of persons or things. 4. the common people; the masses; populace or multitude. 5. a criminal gang, esp. one involved in drug trafficking, extortion, etc.

______
I don't see a crowd here.

um, see #2?

Re:How is it a mob at all? (1)

brusk (135896) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766487)

Booth was a patriot

Apparently you hold the same low opinion of patriots as I do.

hello, in this story "flash mob" is not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26766395)

...because it's all in the same place, it's because it's the mob

Re:How's this a flash mob? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26765427)

The world is a single place, it just depends what kind of scale you're on.

Re:How's this a flash mob? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26766259)

pointless pedantry. human civilization is a single instant in time, it just depends on what kind of scale you're on. "Flash mob of homo sapiens gathers together and then disappears."

Re:How's this a flash mob? (3, Informative)

Saroset (1383483) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765451)

Re:How's this a flash mob? (0, Redundant)

Fumus (1258966) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765521)

Webster's New Millennium Dictionary of English defines flash mob as "a group of people who organize on the Internet and then quickly assemble in a public place, do something bizarre, and disperse."

So. Umm... You're just proving my point, eh?

Or are you saying that ATMs are public places and one person near an ATM is enough to be called a group.

Re:How's this a flash mob? (1)

beckerist (985855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766283)

I think the group part applies to the fact a large number of people are doing it. The word "assemble" in this definition implies that yeah, more than one person in one area but given the nature of this attack I still think the definition can be bent a tad to still apply. [/pedantry]

Re:How's this a flash mob? (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765489)

They were all in the same place at the same time - cyberspace, Nov 8, 05:00 UTC.

Re:How's this a flash mob? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26766003)

They were all in the same place at the same time - cyberspace, Nov 8, 05:00 UTC.

I thought they were in front of the ATM's.

lol, LUE.

Re:How's this a flash mob? (2, Interesting)

naoursla (99850) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765511)

You're are right. And they make some people nervous. So not TPTB are working to associate flash mobs with crime so they can make them illegal.

Re:How's this a flash mob? (1)

baKanale (830108) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766417)

While I'm sure flash mobs make somebody in power nervous (though what doesn't, right?), neither TFA nor the video therein mention the words "flash" or "mob". Sounds more like Slashdot sensationalism to me.

Re:How's this a flash mob? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766527)

You could say the same about protestors, and yet their right to assemble is guaranteed by the constituion.

The right of people to peacefully assemble how they like is a very basic right in a free country.

But law enforcement should show absolutely no mercy to the participants in a flash mob where the individuals partake in crimes like theft.

When they finally do catch the people who organized or participated in this, they should all be put away for a very long time.

Re:How's this a flash mob? (1)

naoursla (99850) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766617)

The group of criminals in that article isn't a flash mob. Stop perpetuating the FUD.

Re:How's this a flash mob? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766703)

What FUD?

Flash mob is simply a descriptive term that explains exactly what has happened.

In this case it was a mob of people who apparently organized on the internet, converged on ATMs around the world at a specific time, and then quickly dispersed.

It meets the accepted definition of flash mob exactly. It's not FUD but simple logic and fact.

Re:How's this a flash mob? (2, Insightful)

isaac (2852) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766111)

I believe this is the flash mafia, not a flash mob.

-Isaac

Re:How's this a flash mob? (5, Funny)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766753)

$9M in 49 cities around the world without a trace, but the joke's on them, because we know it wasn't a real flash mob. And isn't that really what matters?

$9 Million? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26765381)

$9 Million stolen from a bank? Peanuts compared to the next $900 Billion the banks are stealing back again - a hundred thousand times more.... I can't even get to grips with that scale of money....

Re:$9 Million? (5, Insightful)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765571)

$9 Million stolen from a bank? Peanuts compared to the next $900 Billion the banks are stealing back again - a hundred thousand times more.... I can't even get to grips with that scale of money....

There's a BIG difference. One group was a bunch of unimaginative, unethical, thieving liars and cowards. The other group had the imagination to do something and take advantage of a weak poorly designed system that gets the guys with the badges and guns after you.

It takes a REAL criminal mind to lobby the regulatory agencies and Congress with dirty money to make your thieving legal. And it's really a piece of work when those lying thieves walk away with tens of millions of dollars in bonuses for cheating.

Re:$9 Million? (4, Funny)

neotritium (1009889) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766007)

There's a BIG difference. One group was a bunch of unimaginative, unethical, thieving liars and cowards. The other group wasn't made up of bank executives.

^ Fixed.

The Wrong Idiots (-1)

hackus (159037) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766115)

Errr...

I hope you are not suggesting that these people who stole this 9 Million dollars were idiots.

Quite to the contrary.

I believe this was just a "test" run.

They got away with it, so far.

They are probably testing the response time of the security involved in the system.

You can be rest assured, that they will be back.

Furthermore, 9 Million will pale in comparison with how much they get out next time.

Also, I would disagree with your assessment that these Wall Street guys are smarter.

Wall Street and the Banks go and do a fairly mundane job on a daily basis, and they do it with complete free access to facilities, through what I would call "legalized" corruption.

In case you have not noticed, your "elected officials" arestealing your money, your future and your jobs.

You are just too stupid too notice because we have a black president.

But I digress...

The people that orchestrated this crime, put a GREAT deal of time an thought into it, because there are quite a a large number security hoops to jump through with just one bank, let alone spread across continents and cities.

Wall street idiots would never be able to do something like this in a million years. They need legal support from the government to steal all your money, fool.

The logistics to coordinate the attack must have been quite extraordinary.

They will, be back, and more than likely they will be back soon because since this has succeeded, I suspect the scope of the crime will prevent the institutions in question from responding in time to prevent another.

This time I would not steal 9 Million though.

I would do transfers to a single account off shore, then move the money. My choice would be Russia.

I could give Putin a cut, for his silence as we watch the entire Western banking system collapse from chaos.

A perfect end for a criminal system that is called "The Federal Reserve".

-Hack

Re:The Wrong Idiots (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26766335)

woosh... GP was saying the bankers are the idiots

Re:The Wrong Idiots (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766339)

They hacked one bank, and probably the bank limits the amount of money it can deliver per day, to prevent "fresh money" shortcomings, I doubt someone could "collapse" the Western banking system like this.

And yeah, Putin & the Russian government is much better, and not based on capitalism at all :|

Re:The Wrong Idiots (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766571)

Now they have warning. If need be, i'm sure they'll probably put checks in to temporarily shutdown the entire ATM system if they detect something like it again.

Re:$9 Million? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26765747)

Why is this mod-ed funny? There is nothing funny about the scale or scope of this injustice levied against the American taxpayer.

Re:$9 Million? (4, Funny)

bremstrong (523910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765873)

Right, $9M is nothing. These guys need to recruit some Chief Ponzi Officers from the Wall St. banks.

Re:$9 Million? (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766143)

It's not theft, it's enslavement.

My parents' generation just enslaved mine to the Chinese for several trillion dollars rather than face the prospect that they might have royally fucked themselves in their attempts to extract money from nothing.

The only way this kind of financial planning makes any sense is if you plan on being dead before the bills come due.

Re:$9 Million? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26766715)

And on top of that, they ask you to pay for them in retirement. Damn parents! ;-)

Re:$9 Million? (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766203)

And the $18 BILLION stolen by CEOs of said banks.

Its the NEW STIMULUS PACKAGE!!! (3, Funny)

Bob_Who (926234) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765423)

Gee, I guess we can rule out any foul play from the bankers. We can trust their integrity.

This doesn't sound right (4, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765457)

The article says over $9,000,000 was stolen using only 100 cards in 49 cities in a 30 minute period. That, boys and girls, is $90,000 per card. The article says the limits on the cards were overridden, using them to make withdrawals in multiple increments of $500 or so. $90,000 / $500 is 180 withdrawals in a 30 minute period, or 6 withdrawals per minute.

This article doesn't pass the basic sniff test. It reeks of either disinformation or seriously bad math.

Re:This doesn't sound right (5, Insightful)

caspper69 (548511) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765487)

The article says over $9,000,000 was stolen using only 100 cards in 49 cities in a 30 minute period. That, boys and girls, is $90,000 per card. The article says the limits on the cards were overridden, using them to make withdrawals in multiple increments of $500 or so. $90,000 / $500 is 180 withdrawals in a 30 minute period, or 6 withdrawals per minute.

This article doesn't pass the basic sniff test. It reeks of either disinformation or seriously bad math.

Yes, but it doesn't say how many copies of each card they made.

Re:This doesn't sound right (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26765695)

Let's look at it another way.

$9MM / ($500 / transaction) / 130 ATMs / 30 min = ~4.6 transactions/ATM/min

Still seems rather high. I suppose I've never timed it, but it always feels like it takes more than 13 seconds to get my money at an ATM...

Re:This doesn't sound right (2, Informative)

Splab (574204) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766217)

Depends on the machine I guess, some can be pretty quick, but it still is quite a lot.

But whats with the $500 marker? Around here max is 9900 DKR = $2000 per transaction. Then we are talking 1 transaction a minute..

Re:This doesn't sound right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26766485)

From the article we learn the following, that "over 130" ATMs were involved and that the limits were raised to several times the previous maximum. The $500 limit posted is the reporter's limit. There is no information what RBS Worldpay's default limit is.

Hence, just by taking into account that withdrawls as large as $1500 could be done, then the Transacions/ATM/min can be as low as 2.3 transactions/ATM/min or 1.5 transactions/ATM/min. And that sounds entirely plausible

Re:This doesn't sound right (4, Funny)

iTowelie (1118013) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766735)

My fastest time is 17 seconds from the time the card goes in until the card comes out. That includes entering my PIN, selecting chequeing/withdrawal, amount of money, dispense money, give me back my card. Not all ATMs will give me that time due to different menus/longer authentication times etc. Don't ask me why I would time something so stupid in my day to day life, but I pride myself at quick withdrawals. Wait a minute...

iTowelie

Not quite... (2, Informative)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765581)

Here is the amazing part: With these cashers ready to do their dirty work around the world, the hacker somehow had the ability to lift those limits we all have on our ATM cards. For example, I'm only allowed to take out $500 a day, but the cashers were able to cash once, twice, three times over and over again. When it was all over, they only used 100 cards but they ripped off $9 million.

Article DOES NOT say what their per-withdrawal limit was.
What if DOES SAY is that they were able to withdraw money multiple times, with the daily sum being over $500.

It also says that the writer of the article has a daily limit of $500 but that is besides the point.

Need new friends (3, Funny)

Narnie (1349029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765627)

I need more friends willing to say "Here's this ATM card. At midnight tonight, make as many $500 withdrawals as you can in 30 minutes and put them onto this card. You get to keep half of what's on the card."

Where do you find friends like that?
/humor

Re:Need new friends (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766821)

The same friends that get you a 52" plasma TV that "fell off a truck" for $100.00.. he has 20 that fell of that truck.

If you lived in chicago I'd introduce you to a few if you're worthy.

P.S. if you talk too much, you dont just lose your card in the club.....

I hear that in NY there are these kinds of "friends" as well. not that I know any myself. I just heard of them. you know?

Re:This doesn't sound right (5, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765683)

Maybe it is like the "street value" quoted in a drug bust, or like an RIAA accounting for music "theft".

Here we have $9,000,000 listed as the retail value of the loss, the actual paper money they got is nearly worthless, because ATMs only issue "bank notes", nothing more.

Re:This doesn't sound right (1)

iknowcss (937215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765835)

I've always wondered what the street value of a $100 federal reserve note was ...

Re:This doesn't sound right (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26765883)

About five Euro.

Re:This doesn't sound right (1)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765995)

Depends on which government issued it. For instance, if it's from Zimbabwe, you could wipe with it in the washroom, and nothing of value was lost...

Re:This doesn't sound right (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766311)

That's actually a very interesting point. With fractional reserve lending, the monetary system we currently use, an original $1,000 deposit into a bank balloons into [chrismartenson.com] $10,000 of real money. So they theoretically _could_ use the RIAA tactic as a $9M potential is essentially removed with the withdrawal of $900,000.

Going back to the OP, that would mean 18 withdrawals per card over a 30-minute period, or just under two minutes per transaction. We are now in the domain of the eminently plausible.

Re:This doesn't sound right (1)

EGenius007 (1125395) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766225)

Apart from the fact that the currency limit in the US wasn't necessarily $500, it may be greater in foreign currency--say, 500 British pounds or 500 Euro, which would work out to far more than $500.

And I'm sure they're also counting ATM fees at some atrocious amount. Probably $normal_fee + $overdraft_penalty + $fraud_penalty on every single transaction.

Re:This doesn't sound right (1)

jschen (1249578) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766595)

That's $90,000 average per card! How did they find accounts where people are keeping that much cash in an account with a debit/ATM card? Or did the hack go to the extent of even allowing withdrawals once accounts went to zero?

Re:This doesn't sound right (1)

NotmyNick (1089709) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766717)

This article doesn't pass the basic sniff test. It reeks of either disinformation or seriously bad math.

Nah. The FBI just used their standard extrapolation, like they do in drug busts. So $9,000,000 is the STREET VALUE of the money stolen...oh, wait.

Directly to a debit card? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26765485)

One service of the company is the ability for employers to pay employees with the money going directly to a debit card that can be used in any ATM.

I've never heard of this... Do they mean the money isn't going into a bank first?

Re:Directly to a debit card? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26765887)

That's what I'm trying to figure out as well.
From the RBS Payroll card Fact Sheet (found on here [rbsworldpay.us] )

Are payroll cards reloaded with additional cash, or do employees receive new cards each time they are paid?
Payroll cards are reloadable with funds loaded onto the cards directly by the employer. The cards are not reloadable with cash by the cardholder.

So to me they sound like a reloadable debit/credit card (like you could give away as a present or something), where only the business can reload it.
(Maybe a better example, at least if I'm understanding this right, they have those Visa Gift Cards (details [visa.com] ) you put money on and give away as a gift. Person with gift card uses it as a credit card until it is out of money. In this case, the person giving them away can add more money after you have the card. So the money is in a bank somewhere, just not directly in an account that the user controls. At least that's how this sounds like to me)

Re:Directly to a debit card? (2, Informative)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766027)

There is a bank of some sort backing the debit card, but it's not necessarily a traditional bank.

This is very common with large employers of low-income people, because a significant percentage of their employees don't have a proper bank account.

It's really very similar to the employer opening a checking account for the employee but not providing the ability to write checks or do deposits.

The employees are issued a card, which they continue to use for the duration of their employment. Every payday, additional funds are available on the card. Sometimes it's strictly an ATM card, but I think it's often a dual-usage card, co-branded Visa or MasterCard and one of the debit networks.

The advantage to the employer is the same as direct deposit - lower costs of pay distribution.

The advantage to the employee is they don't typically have any cost to get at their pay. (Contrast this with taking a paper check to a check-cashing store.)

Re:Directly to a debit card? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766625)

MCI used to give them out as part of the promotions they'd offer their tele-marketers. If you won the competition in your shift you'd get an atm card that could withdraw $100.00, but it would only work for the next 24 hours ( of course this income was taxed as a gift at 40% or so). They used gimmicks like that to lure employees in, not just quoting them the base salary, but the potential to win all of these competitions that would up their pay. Sure you only make $8.00 an hour with only 20 hours a week, but you could make $600 a week on top of that in bonuses.

!FLASH MOB... (0, Redundant)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765517)

A flash mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual action for a brief time, then quickly disperse. The organization of flash mobs is generally accepted as being limited to the social media or viral emails, rather than organized by public relations firms or for a stunt. Also flash mobs are not politically or commercially motivated as described by Bill Wasik's in where he said, they serve no purpose.

NOT "large" group. Probably well under 100 people.

Here is the amazing part: With these cashers ready to do their dirty work around the world, the hacker somehow had the ability to lift those limits we all have on our ATM cards. For example, I'm only allowed to take out $500 a day, but the cashers were able to cash once, twice, three times over and over again. When it was all over, they only used 100 cards but they ripped off $9 million.

NOT an unusual action - they took money from an ATM. Not exactly pillow fighting in the middle of the street. [wikipedia.org]

WAS organized with one specific goal and purpose in mind - getting away with 9 million dollars.

MOST DEFINITELY commercially motivated.

 

 
NOT A FLASH MOB! A well organized group of CRI-MI-NAL-S!

Then again, article WAS linked from myfoxny.com - that famous source of unbiased and non-sensationalistic information.

This looks like a job for... (3, Interesting)

FFCecil (623749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765553)

Obvious Man! [joshreads.com]

Since the M in ATM stands for Machine, saying ATM Machine is redundant.

Re:This looks like a job for... (1)

Vertana (1094987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766371)

That's always bothered me too. It's like DNS (depending on usage on this word though).

Holy Bonus Batman! (5, Funny)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765577)

That's almost as much as John Thain (of Merrill Lynch) thought he should get for securing the bailout funds!

Re:Holy Bonus Batman! (5, Insightful)

tres (151637) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766623)

This is such an insightful comment.

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. — Thomas Jefferson

and I still had mod points just yesterday...

Not stolen, copied! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26765609)

Argh, use the right word! They copied the data, rather than stole it. Er, oh, money came out of the machine. Well, they still copied something, so I'm not totally wrong.

Movie (1)

Razorm (1451377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765657)

I smell a future movie about this. Like Oceans Eleven with atms.

Re:Movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26765799)

Maybe they could call it "Ocean's Flash Mob". But, it just won't be the same without Bernie Mac. (Funny, I just watched Ocean's Twelve again last night).

Re:Movie (1)

g_t_llama (152336) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765951)

Oceans 130? Could work, but they have about 117 sequels to go before they get to that one.

The beginning of the era (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26765669)

of true cyber-criminals?

Buy I am sure ..... (1)

daryl_and_daryl (1005065) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765825)

That none of the taxpayers money was stolen in this theft

I wonder (4, Funny)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765933)

Did they hack the ATM machines after stealing the PIN numbers?

I have to go work in some CSS style sheets for a web site that links ISBN numbers to UPC codes. I hope they don't make me redundant.

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26766483)

After skimming through the article: They didn't hack the ATM's. They hacked a bank to (anonymously) issue new valid cards, then withdrew as much cash as possible, and dumped the cards. No need to steel PIN numbers, they got them with there new cards.
The whole system worked fine, except for the detail that the bank doesn't know who it lent the money to....

ATM Machines? (4, Funny)

JerkBoB (7130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26765959)

I wonder what the PIN Number was that they all used in those ATM Machines. Maybe they used a custom PCB Board to prototype the hack. Then they downloaded the plans onto a CD Disc. I'll bet they literally died after they got away with all the cash.

Anyways, I could care less.

Re:ATM Machines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26766421)

I wonder what the PIN Number was that they all used in those ATM Machines. Maybe they used a custom PCB Board to prototype the hack. Then they downloaded the plans onto a CD Disc. I'll bet they literally died after they got away with all the cash.

Anyways, I could care less.

Compact Disc Disc?
Literally died?
How much do you care, Bob?

how much would have costed to avoid such hacks.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26766073)

Most ATMs, Point of Sale Devices, Network Printers, Hospital Equipments, etc. are hardened to prevent hacks... when would people learn that same needs to be done to their transaction processing systems. Any system thru which such information flows should be hardened too.

Why don't companies learn from mistakes of others or do they have to experience it first-hand to justify the cost to fix their systems?

-Dee

Inside job (2, Insightful)

zymano (581466) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766393)

and where are the cameras on these Atm's?

Re:Inside job (2, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766643)

Interesting question.. I would guess the cameras got pictures of them, but they haven't been caught yet. I guess it's possible the participants were far from home, got pretty far within a few days, and didn't look suspicious to any law enforcement.

It's probable they'll eventually get caught in that case, as facial recognition technology becomes more widespread, they may be identified automatically in 3 or 4 years, when they eventually pass through a public place that's closely monitored

The world is a big place and it can take a long time to capture someone based on a picture from an ATM camera.

Or maybe they had scoped out in advance where there were ATMs not very effectively monitored by cameras, and taken measures to prevent a camera from definitively identifying them in any way.

There are more than a few possibilities of ways information from cameras alone might not be useful.

RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) (4, Interesting)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766429)

RBS Worldpay is the Royal Bank of Scotlands Worldpay cheapo net transactions processor. The processor is shit (and expensive), and RBS are basically owned by the UK govt. after the bailout.
So if you use Worldpay on your website, I would get shot of it sharpish. They are the kind of outfit that will have multiple holes in their security. (I used to use their payment processor back in 2002.)

FTFA (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26766769)

These people in the photos are believed to be "cashers," low-level players, in a scheme devised from some mastermind -- a dangerous computer hacker or hacking ring authorities fear could strike again.

The implication being that they are dangerous in the sense of "do not approach these hackers, they are armed and dangerous". But there was nothing in the article to suggest they meant dangerous in any other sense than being dangerous to the profits of banks.

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