There are still some bank robbers who do it the old fashioned way - threatening a teller, demanding money. But the ones after the big haul use sophisticated malware. The U.S. Attorney, S.D., New York, issued a press release the other day explaining how one modern day gang of bank robbers operated. From the press release:
The Gozi Virus
The Gozi Virus is malicious computer code or “malware” that steals personal bank account information, including usernames and passwords, from the users of affected computers. It was named by private sector information security experts in the U.S. who, in 2007, discovered that previously unrecognized malware was stealing personal bank account information from computers across Europe on a vast scale, while remaining virtually undetectable in the computers it infected. To date, the Gozi Virus has infected over one million victim computers worldwide, among them at least 40,000 computers in the U.S., including computers belonging to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”), as well as computers in Germany, Great Britain, Poland, France, Finland, Italy, Turkey and elsewhere, and it has caused tens of millions of dollars in losses to the individuals, businesses, and government entities whose computers were infected.
The Gozi Virus was distributed to victims’ computers in several different ways. In one method, the virus was disguised as an apparently benign .pdf document which, when opened, secretly installed the Gozi Virus on the victim’s computer. Once installed, the Gozi Virus – which was intentionally designed to be undetectable by anti-virus software – collected data from the infected computer in order to capture personal bank account information including usernames and passwords. That data was then transmitted to various computer servers controlled by the cyber criminals who used the Gozi Virus. These cyber criminals then used the personal bank account information to transfer funds out of the victims’ bank accounts and ultimately into their own personal possession.
The bold was added to highlight, among other things, the fact that the virus was initially undetectable. That is what is so frightening. Computer users periodically run anti-virus software then relax thinking the computer is malware free. But in truth, all we know for certain is that the software didn't find anything.
At least Bonnie and Clyde were visible to the naked eye.