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The latest in cybercrime? Fully automated bank heists

Cybercriminals have been stealing passwords to siphon off bank accounts for years, but cybercops were gaining. Now an automated system could vastly expand online bank heists.

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Cybercriminals are trying something new at the bank: fully automated online heists.

In a new twist on a familiar online banking cybercrime threat, computer criminals are rolling out a new system targeting businesses’ and high-net-worth individuals' bank accounts in the US and Europe, security analysts say. The new system siphons the accounts using new, highly automated crime-ware that requires no human intervention.

Since January, when the process was discovered, a dozen cybergangs using this new robo-bank-heist rip-off technique have attempted at least $78 million in fraudulent wire transfers from accounts at 60 or more financial institutions worldwide, according to a new report by McAfee Labs, the Santa Clara, Calif., cybersecurity firm, and Guardian Analytics, a Los Altos-Calif.-based firm. Total attempted fraud could be as high as $2.5 billion.

But that's just the start. The wave of automated attacks has been rolled out in the US over the past 60 days, reports McAfee, which dubbed it the “High Roller” scheme. Credit Unions, big banks, and even regional banks were targeted in the European Union, Latin America, and now in the United States, the company found.

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