A recent report from Kaspersky Lab reveals that criminals have significantly raised their potential focused on infiltrating and stealing directly from more than 100 different banks. Kaspersky named the operation as the Carbanak APT.
Carbanak was estimated to have earned a total of $250 million over years of use which is considered as the most successful financial cybercrimes in history.
Banking networks have highly secure internal processes, software and systems. Infiltrating and stealing in such a convolution would seem to be very complicated. However, Carbanak is not some autonomous bit of code running on its own, in fact it is a vehicle for a remote human attacker to watch, learn and remotely drive the attack. With the application of this approach, hackers were able to assimilate the knowledge of the infected user and apply that information for further attack.
After successfully infecting a bank employee’s computer, the attackers patiently listened and learned. The employee’s desktop display had been recorded by the Carbanak malware and it also sent video to the remote attacker. The desktop display video allowed attacker to watch an employee and learn the internal processes of the bank. It empowers them to incessant attack. The attackers didn’t need prior knowledge of the victim network. They had enough time to learn and plan their next steps.
The attacker used their approach according to the infected user’s role. In some cases, the attacker subverted the bank’s ATM network to force cash machines to dispense money on command. In other cases, the attacker altered a banking database to add money to an account that would later be transferred out to the attacker.
In all cases, the attacker learned what access the user of an infected computer had within in the network and used their access to steal money from the bank. In fact, the outside attacker became a malicious insider by using credentialed access and confidential knowledge of the banks business processes.