[ISN] Hackers prey on Internet banking

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Fri Jun 11 2004 - 03:27:39 PDT

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    http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2004/06/10/2003174478
    
    STAFF WRITER, 
    WITH CNA 
    Jun 10, 2004
    
    The numbers and personal codes of more than 100,000 Internet banking
    and auction-site clients are feared to have been stolen by hackers
    from across the Taiwan Strait.
    
    Criminal Investigation Bureau officials said yesterday that they had
    arrested a Taiwanese man named Chen Chung-shun (R), 30, in
    Hualien, and seized a huge amount of confidential data, including 45
    million e-mail addresses, almost 200,000 bank and auction-site account
    numbers with their corresponding personal secret codes, and
    information on three figurehead bank accounts.
    
    Investigators believe Chen has been collaborating with Chinese hackers
    since February to steal Internet bank codes by planting "shell" or
    "revised" versions of "Trojan horse" programs into the personal
    computers of customers using Internet banking services.
    
    Although Chen said he had obtained hundreds of thousands of bank
    account codes, police found only a portion of the code information at
    Chen's premises in Hualien.
    
    Chen reported told investigators that he had transferred approximately
    100,000 accounts and personal codes to the China-based hackers, and he
    had no backup copies in his database.
    
    Investigators have urged the public to change their bank codes
    immediately to avoid losing their money.
    
    Chen had reportedly gathered 45 million Taiwanese e-mail addresses,
    and in mid-February, he started sending advertising e-mails containing
    shell or revised Trojan horses to those e-mail addresses. By
    mid-March, he had sent out over 18 million e-mails.
    
    Police said the banks' firewalls a had not been compromised, but that
    using the "shell" versions provided by Chinese hackers and attached to
    the e-mails, Chen managed to record account numbers and personal codes
    as they were input by bank customers.
    
    After obtaining account num-bers and personal codes, Chen proceeded to
    transfer money to other accounts.
    
    Although the total amount stolen by the ring is estimated to be
    several million NT dollars, the full extent of the losses is not yet
    known.
    
    Officials said the ring withdrew the money from the International
    Commercial Bank of China ATM machines in China, or transferred it to
    hundreds of figurehead accounts which had been established in the
    names of 10 Taiwanese people.
    
    Hundreds of thousands of bank-account numbers, with corresponding
    personal codes, were exposed to the hackers' machines, according to
    investigators.
    
    The officials said that among the bank accounts tampered with were
    savings accounts with funds in excess of NT$200 million (US$5.9
    million).
    
    Bureau officials described this type of Internet crime as "secretive,
    shapeless, borderless, anonymous and without restrictions on
    distance." They said the total damage caused by the hackers was not
    yet known.
    
    
    
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