Security & Fraud

Thieves Manage To Lift $12.7M From Japanese ATMs In Two Hours

Score yet another one for team cybercriminals, as thieves in Japan managed to lift ¥1.4 billion ($12.7 million) from cash machines across Japan.

The coordinated two-hour raid required about 100 people using cloned bank cards. All in, the thieves were able to grab up 14,000 transactions for about ¥100,000 ($913) a pop — mostly in convenience store ATMs, all in the early AM hours of Saturday (May 21). The transactions data suggests that the big bank bust leveraged 1,600 cloned cards taken from a South African bank.

The hack is presently under investigation, as Japanese authorities work with South African authorities to investigate the crime.

The story echoes a similar pair of successful bank hacks that took place in 2012 and 2013 across 26 countries. During those attacks, a criminal syndicate used "cashout crews" to make $55 million go AWOL from ATM machines in the space of a couple of hours. In 2009, RBS WorldPay, the U.S. payments processing arm of Royal Bank of Scotland Group, lost $9 million in a 30-minute period during a global ATM heist that involved 100 cloned cards in 49 cities worldwide.

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