By Kevin Poulsen
June 24, 2008
Citibank officials monitoring their network for fraud on Thursday, May
8, noticed suspicious ATM transactions at 8:30 p.m., coming through the
five cash machines in the vestibule of a Citibank branch at 65th Street
and Madison Avenue in New York City's Upper East Side.
As luck would have it, a bank employee -- probably a corporate security
official -- was already staking out the branch from across the street.
Three months had passed since Citibank notified the FBI that a hacker
managed to steal customer-account numbers and PIN codes, in an attack on
a server that processes transactions from Citi-branded ATMs at 7-Eleven
convenience stores. In late February and early March, the FBI and the
U.S. Secret Service arrested two Ukrainian immigrants and two alleged
co-conspirators for allegedly using the stolen PINs to steal $2 million
in cash from unsuspecting Citibank customers.
But the arrests didn't stop the fraud, which sprang from perhaps the
most serious computer intrusion into a bank system to date. The FBI has
recently made at least six more arrests in New York -- bringing the
total to 10 -- thanks to information from arrested scam suspects, a
lucky traffic stop, and an undercover operation that at one point had
Eastern European hackers chasing a female FBI agent through the streets
of New York, trying to mug her for ATM-card-programming gear.
Six months after the 2007 breach, Wired.com is receiving scattered
reports of Citibank customers still suffering mysterious withdrawals
from their bank accounts.
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