How To Steal Millions Of Dollars In 2 Days (If You Dare)


This is not intended to encourage people to steal. It’s actually concerning a real serious crime that took place between December 2012 and February 2013. It shares the story of what happened in order to warn you and urge you to protect yourself. More specifically, you will need to follow through with ensuring your website remains invulnerable.

The Online “Heist”

These high-profile thieves probably deserve some credit. After all, they didn’t use a single gun, and didn’t cause much of a scene when they managed to rip off $45 million. This gargantuan sum of money was taken from over 5,000 ATMs in 27 different countries. The transactions all took place under the guise of supposed risen credit limits. It took a total of 81,000 transactions to achieve this.

What was their plan of attack?

It probably shocks, appalls and puzzles many people that this type of operation could continue for as long as it did. Why did they get away with this scheme over 80,000 times? Apparently they weren’t dumb thieves before they got caught.

This major online identify theft scheme actually happened in rather organized steps:

  • Step #1-They hacked a major credit card company’s website. Then, they raised the limits on bank cards in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
  • Step #2—They distributed 12 account numbers to at least 27 locations around the world. A special crew worked on encoding necessary stolen information on magnetic strips.
  • Step #-3-After millions of cards were programmed at higher credit limits, money was withdrawn from the 5,000+ ATM machines. Using prepaid cards gave them a way to bypass otherwise standard teller machine security protocol.
  • Step #4-This phase was referred as “The Take” in a major report. In some countries, a maximum of $10,000 withdrawal allowance made this large-scale identify theft project seem easy.


What Could’ve Prevented This?

The credit card processing company that was hacked should have paid attention to the ip addresses of devices hacking the accounts. It would’ve been totally obvious then, because of the large number of accounts accessed from a central operation location. If a system was set in place that watched for red flags—especially one of raising a massive amount of credit limits—this whole situation could’ve been halted sooner.

With all the increased awareness about identify theft within the past 10 years, how could this still take place? It actually is a wonder that this could still take place at all. After all, these thieves were stationed excessively close to the scene of the crime.

Has Carelessness Increased?

More and more situations like this on a smaller scale seem to be surfacing. In spite of all the reports about identify theft it seems as if no one really cares. Large companies and individual citizens often don’t even watch out for signs that trouble is brewing.

Perhaps some blame could be put on encouraging social connections online that have security holes. However, mostly it involves very crafty crooks who will not stop at anything to try to make money. People as well as large companies need to implement far better security systems.


Guest Author: Erin Walsh is the Director of Public Relations for Boost Software. She is an avid blogger that enjoys sharing her knowledge with the everyday computer user. She also specializes in helping pc users update drivers and fix their registries. You can read more at one of her blogs at PC Health Boost.

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2 thoughts on “How To Steal Millions Of Dollars In 2 Days (If You Dare)

  1. I don’t think they were caught. The authorities know that it happened and know how it happened after the fact, but basically they were unaware of anything wrong until so much money had been taken out in those parts of the world. I think many people don’t care any more because times are so tough. If you’re already in the hole to credit card companies a little piled on by fraud seems like nothing to alot of the debt people already owe.

    The nature of the companies too, being international, makes them vulnerable to attacks around the globe. It’s simply unusual that it was so organized.

  2. Wow, what a scary thought! I wonder what it was that eventually got them caught? Well, regardless I’m glad they were caught. Even with software to keep our PC’s healthy and security software to keep them safe we still need to keep a watchful eye on things to make sure stuff like this doesn’t happen to us.

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