Biggest Cyber Heists Ever Pulled Off
In the digital age, you can rob a bank over the internet from the other side of the world, which has actually led to some of the largest bank robberies ever. You should definitely check out number eight, Operation High Roller, since it goes into great detail about some of these tales. In 2012, a global network of cybercriminals planned and carried out a string of bank account heists from a distance using their computers.
Prior to the heists' start, the thieves gained access to the banking networks in Europe, the United States, and Latin America by stealing bank employees' login credentials. Researchers claim that after gaining access, the group planted a variety of malware that allowed them to manipulate financial transactions. They then started searching for high-value accounts to target, such as those belonging to large corporations and the government, and didn't pay attention to any accounts with balances of less than $1 million, which prompted the investigation.
Operation High Roller is its name Once their targets were chosen, hackers controlled as many as 10 different kinds of malware via a network of computers in Albania, Russia, and the US, and they authorized money transfers at ATM withdrawals and at banks in many different countries by moving between servers. While security researchers at McAfee discovered the group attempted to transfer and withdraw as much as 2.5 billion dollars, they only managed to get away with 80 million dollars in cash through wire transfers and atm withdrawals, which allowed the attackers to evade detection for a considerable amount of time. Despite the assaults being one of the most profitable bank robberies ever committed, no arrests have been made as of yet.
the seventh the swift banking protocol, which is the communication platform used by thousands of banks around the world to approve transfers between financial institutions, was breached by Bangladeshi criminals in April 2016. To obtain the money, attackers fished bank employees and planted highly specific malware designed just for the swift banking protocol. Ultimately, the attackers gained access to computers that were authoring the transfers. The robbery required more than just hackers, even though participants opened bank accounts all over the world for the money to be transferred to. Theoretically, if they transferred all of this money to one account and that transfer failed, the entire operation would fail. As a result, the heist was divided into smaller transfers into other bank accounts controlled by the thieves, then the owners of those accounts would withdraw the total amount they attempted to steal. The Big Grail Bug, Italy, February 2018 According to Bitgrail, a cryptocurrency exchange, it was attacked and significantly lost a certain coin.
A leaked discussion provides information about what transpired. There was allegedly a bug in the blockchain or this exchange, and they discovered a user sending the nano cryptocurrency from one wallet to another, which is normal, but the transfer was exploiting the bug and twice as much of what was sent as opposed to what should have transferred into the wallet arrived in the wallet. What's worse is that the amount on the blockchain did not show that twice as much was received, so whoever was exploiting this bug was doing it under the table.
The attacker was able to generate and withdraw 17 million nano coins to an external wallet, which was worth 175 million dollars at the time, but bitgrill noticed some anomalies and as soon as they realized what was happening they shut down all nano transactions and reported the loss to the police, but the damage had already been done.
Few details are actually known because they were not forthcoming about the incident, which leaves room for speculation about what actually happened; some have even suggested that it may have been an exit scam since it has been three years and the site has not yet been restored; however, when 175 million dollars in cryptocurrency are stolen, this raises concerns.
making it one of the biggest heists ever
number five kucoin seychelles september 2020 This attack targeted a well-known cryptocurrency exchange called Kucoin, which claims to have over 8 million users. Cryptocurrency exchanges have hot and cold wallets to store their users' funds; think of the hot wallet as a cash register inside a store; you should sweep out any extra whenever you have a chance and put that money in a bank vault or a cold storage account. When the security team at Kucoin investigated a risk management system alert, they found suspicious activity in some of the hot wallets used by the exchange to handle transactions. The team immediately shut down the servers, but some transactions from users' accounts to wallets outside the exchange were still occurring.
Once cryptocurrency coins are transferred to another wallet, there is no way to undo it and get your money back; it is lost forever. However, the kucoin team was able to take control of their wallets before the thieves were able to empty them completely; the thieves were able to take 275 million dollars' worth of cryptocurrency. Over the course of the following minutes, kucoin security watched as someone transferred large numbers of bitcoin, ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies to several accounts outside their exchange.
The Lazarus group, the same hacking team that robbed the Bangladesh bank, was involved in the theft, according to a chain analysis investigation. The exchange was able to minimize the damage and shield its users from the effects, but if it was the Lazarus group, it remained safe and protected inside the segregated north korea. Mount Cox 4.
In February 2014, the market leader in bitcoin exchanges at the time, Tokyo Mount Gox, applies for bankruptcy protection after mysteriously losing the money of its customers. As one of the first bitcoin exchanges, mount gox was run by Mark Carpolis in the early 2010s. I say bitcoin exchange rather than crypto exchange because at the time, they only traded bitcoin. When this newfangled digital currency appeared and attracted a lot of thieves—as it does today—mount gox encountered frequent web attacks, database attacks, attempted wallet snatching, and much more.
One of the first significant losses for mount gox occurred when someone broke into Mark's computer and discovered a bitcoin wallet there with 300 000 of mount gox's bitcoin in it. The thief was able to steal all 300 000 bitcoins, but that thief got nervous and returned 99 of the bitcoins back to Mark while keeping 3 000 for themselves. There was another attack when someone broke into the mount cox database and was able to steal 80 000 bitcoins.
When Mark finally realized what was happening in 2013 after months of this, the burglar had already stolen almost 500 000 bitcoins.
There were eventually about 750 000 bitcoins stolen from Mount Gox while it was operating, which made it impossible for anyone who believed they owned bitcoin on the site to access their accounts on Mount Docs and get their money back.
It amounts to 7% of the total amount of bitcoin in circulation at the time, which was worth around
Number three coin check for 450 million US dollars
Tokyo, Japan, January 2018 coin check At the time, one of the biggest cyber heists in history targeted one of the top bitcoin exchanges in the world. In 2014, coin check was established. Over time, the website developed into one of the top exchanges for a number of cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ethereum, and nem nem Four years after the exchange's launch, customers were suspicious when coin checks abruptly ceased deposits and withdrawals of the nem cryptocurrency. Rumors that the exchange had been hacked quickly spread, but the exchange's proprietors said that they had not detected any technical concerns. A press conference was conducted shortly after on January 26th, during which the company's coo, president, and ceo said that roughly 500 million nem had been taken from coin check and moved to wallets outside of the exchange.
We do know that the attackers gained access to the exchange's hot wallet and were able to withdraw millions of nem tokens from it. The company never disclosed exactly how it happened, but in their announcement about the attack, the ceo admitted that the exchange failed to use multi-signature authentication, a security measure. At the time, one nem was worth about one US dollar, so in total the thieves made off with over 500 million dollars worth of cryptocurrency.
According to an ib group report, it was carried out by
The North Korean government has been accused of stealing about two billion dollars from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges in recent years. In addition, to the best of my knowledge, it is the only government in the world to hack for financial benefit. If you're not up to date on all the newest tech involved with cryptocurrencies, it's okay because things are updating and innovating so fast that nobody can keep up with it all. What the poly network does is it provides interoperability between two different types of cryptocurrencies. In the pali network heist in August 2021, a hacker exploited the poly network and stole over 600 million dollars worth of crypto coins. This is not to be confused with the polygon mata coin, which is Because there are so many different currencies, exchanges, networks, and technologies involved, and because they're all developing with new functionalities at such an alarming rate that some of this stuff isn't tested thoroughly and has vulnerabilities, this hacker was able to inject their own code, which allowed them to convince the poly network to send the hacker a lot of money. This is one of the inherent problems with innovation in the cryptocurrency space. This hacker discovered a significant flaw in the poly network, which allowed them to simply divert money to their own account and take
Ethereum valued at 270 million dollars A financial transaction totaling $230 million tokens on smart chains 83 million dollars' worth of polygon matic coins and other coins, and it appears that this was just done by one person or a small group, rather than a highly skilled cybercriminal organization or a nation-state actor. This person is clearly very knowledgeable about cryptocurrencies and could probably come up with a very clever way to cash out on it all and live the high life for the rest of their life, but in an odd turn of events, they actually chose to return the money.
It seems like they were just trying to do this for fun and were pleasantly delighted when it was successful; they weren't really out to steal people's money.
The Poly Network invited the hacker to be their chief security advisor to help them in the future, and so far it doesn't appear that Mr. White Hacker has taken any of the 500 000 or the job. I doubt they will either because they like to stay in the shadows. However, as of today, this hacker has of their own volition returned all of the 600 million dollars to the rightful owners. In august 2013, police in multiple nations began to uncover cashing rings or groups of individuals who would visit ATMs and withdraw money on behalf of online criminals who had sent money to different accounts. The cyber security company kaspersky published a report about the attack in which they claimed that attackers had infected financial institutions around the world with malware, primarily through spear phishing emails sent to low-level bank employees. This malware, known as carbonacc, exploited a windows vulnerability and allowed attackers to gain access to the bank transfer software and move money. While the malware affected banks and institutions worldwide, investigators tracked the first carbonic infection into August of 2013 and discovered that the attacks peaked during the summer of 2014. While the malware affected banks and institutions worldwide, the majority of the victims are reported to be from China, Germany, Russia, and the United States.
The fact that the carbon act targeted institutions rather than individual customers was one of the reasons it was so successful because it gave the attackers access to larger sums of money and prevented them from setting off fraud triggers designed to catch suspicious activity in individual accounts. This, along with a highly organized team carrying out the operation, made this heist the most lucrative hack ever reported. It's difficult to estimate how much money they stole because so many banks were involved.
Although there have been a few arrests, it seems that low-level participants rather than the mastermind or organizers behind it all were the ones who were arrested for the most part.
That wraps up the top cyber heists, but you might be wondering what about exit scams. You're right, I think exit scams just deserve its own video because I consider those internal attacks. That's what I intend to do for the next video, so be sure to subscribe so you can find out first when that video is released. If you'd like to learn more about these cyber heists, check out the podcast darknet diaries where I discussed Carbonite.