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Crime Security The Almighty Buck News

Cybercrooks Surpassed Old School Bankrobbers In '09 81

krebsonsecurity writes "Organized cyber-criminal gangs stole $25 million in the 3rd quarter alone last year, by pilfering the online bank accounts of small to midsized businesses, the FDIC reported last week. In contrast, traditional bank robbers hauled just $9.4 million in 1,184 bank robberies during that same period, according to an analysis of FBI bank crime statistics by krebsonsecurity.com. From that story: 'The federal government sure publishes a lot more information about physical bank robberies than it makes available about online stick-ups. Indeed, the FBI's bank crime stats are extraordinarily detailed. For example, they can tell you that in the 3rd quarter of last year, bank robbers were more likely to hold up their local branch between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. on a Wednesday than at any other time or day of the week; they can tell you the number of tear gas and dye packs taken with the loot, the number of security cameras activated, the number of food stamps taken, even what percentage of suspected perpetrators had illegal drug habits at the time of the robberies. About the only thing the stats don't tell you is what brand of jeans the perpetrators were wearing and whether the getaway car had cool vanity plates. What do we get about e-crime statistics from the federal government? One guy from the FDIC giving a speech at the RSA conference."
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Cybercrooks Surpassed Old School Bankrobbers In '09

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  • by aleqi_njbp ( 1698500 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:09PM (#31414734) Journal
    Since only 3% of all dollars exist as paper money you knew this one was coming. If thieves only robbed the paper money they would be limiting their money pool they steal from.
  • Hostages.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:16PM (#31414866)

    I wonder how many hostages have been injured/shot in a cyber stickup gone bad?

    Perhaps that might explain their focusing more on physical bank robberies? I mean cmon.. the banks have insurance to cover the actual money lost, don't they?

  • by phormalitize ( 1748504 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:25PM (#31415044) Journal
    My guess is that the government doesn't publish the statistics because they aren't able to accurately collect such data for various reasons (general inability to establish effective metrics, reluctance of affected entities to disclose detailed data, etc.) There would have to be some kind of consensus about what needed to be collected, and probably more laws passed to force companies to disclose it...
  • by beakerMeep ( 716990 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:30PM (#31415144)
    Compared to the GDP of the US in 2009 ($14.26T) that's what, like 0.0007% ? *

    *Disclamer: that's internet math, some of the logic could have been stolen/pilfered.
  • Re:Huh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:33PM (#31415196) Journal
    The stupid ones?

    The smart ones _legally_ transfer money from the stupid to the smart (e.g. themselves).

    In case people haven't noticed, inflation/printing/creating money is also another way of transferring money. Value is being transferred from the holders of the money, to the entities printing/creating the money. It's like a tax.
  • Of Course (Score:4, Insightful)

    by carp3_noct3m ( 1185697 ) <slashdot@warrior ... .net minus punct> on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:33PM (#31415198)
    "Cyber-Crime" has the majority of the benefits of a traditional robbery without many of the downfalls. For those of you who don't know, ATM skimming in the US is even more prevalent and more harmful, and the majority of e-crime originates in OCONUS. The thing is, it is easy to get bank and CC info in the dark underbellies of the internet, the hard part is turning that info into money you can use. That's why large bot-net operators skim large amounts of data, and organize by "value" for example a black card will sell for 150+ $. Usually they try to sell in bulk, to someone else, who then hires a cashier, or someone who can basically "launder" the money back (with various methods, E-gold, offshore gambling, etc), often these cashiers charge over 50 points or more, because that is where the real danger is. The point is, even if you start somehow nabbing or stopping the cashiers, you still have the botnet ops and the real person making the money in the background. Again, most of this being from countries like Russia (stereotypes do exist for a reason sometimes). Want to stop cybercrime? Start making financial institutions at least attempt at having security protocols in place that can stop this sort of thing, and do something to educate and simplify secure computing for the consumer.
  • Re:Hostages.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jer ( 18391 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:36PM (#31415228) Homepage

    I believe that the point the the OP is making is that more people die in physical bank robberies than in online robberies. Hence the extra focus of the FBI on stopping physical robberies over online robberies.

  • Re:Hostages.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jafiwam ( 310805 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:37PM (#31415258) Homepage Journal

    The affected parties are different between the two types of crimes;

    Robbing a bank is the equivalent of stealing from the FDIC.

    Looting an account is the equivalent of emptying a cash register or wallet.

    The "little guy" takes the hit in the latter case, whereas in the former, the direct hit gets absorbed by a larger entity.

    Just try to get your money back from PayPal, or a phishing attack, or cloned debit card once to find out how "stuck" you are as the little guy.

  • Re:Hostages.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cornwallis ( 1188489 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:43PM (#31415360)

    the banks have insurance to cover the actual money lost, don't they?

    Anymore that's the U.S. taxpayers...

  • Not even a blip. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:47PM (#31415438) Journal

    $25 million, roughly 100 million all year. Are you kidding? The financial industry extorted hundreds of billions of dollars from the tax payer in 2009. If this is the cybercrime menace we're supposed to be afraid of, I'm not. I'm much more worried about legalized theft by men in suits.

  • Re:Huh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:51PM (#31415492) Journal

    Yeah, why are we worrying so much about bank robbers. They're small potatoes. As long as they don't kill or hurt anyone how much $$$ can they take? Laughable amounts for the jail time and risk.

    In contrast:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/24/business/24trading.html [nytimes.com]


    Multiply such trades across thousands of stocks a day, and the profits are substantial. High-frequency traders generated about $21 billion in profits last year, the Tabb Group, a research firm, estimates.

    "But we're moving toward a two-tiered marketplace of the high-frequency arbitrage guys, and everyone else. People want to know they have a legitimate shot at getting a fair deal. Otherwise, the markets lose their integrity."

    See also this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXBcmqwTV9s [youtube.com]

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzJmTCYmo9g [youtube.com]

    OK it's comedy, but so is the real world situation in a way (except more tragic).

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:55PM (#31415550) Homepage

    My guess is that the government doesn't publish the statistics because

    No, it's an institutional bias at the FBI that dates back to J. Edgar Hoover. The FBI's Uniform Crime Reports [fbi.gov] hugely underestimate white collar crime. Violent crime is tallied based on police reports, regardless of whether anyone is arrested. White collar crime is tallied based on arrests. Scams with large numbers of victims who didn't lose much each don't get tallied at all.

    In dollar volume, white collar fraud dwarfs all other categories. Losses from the Madoff scam, or the Enron scam, were each greater than an entire century or so of physical bank robberies.

    Robbery is a dying industry, anyway. Breaking into houses is almost obsolete. What's worth stealing? Nobody has silver any more. Used consumer electronics has zero to negative value. Any TV worth stealing is too big to lift. Used furniture is nearly worthless. Few people keep much cash around. Auto theft is at a 20-year low - between OnStar and LoJack, stealing cars as a career doesn't work for long.

  • Re:Huh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Syberz ( 1170343 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @01:15PM (#31415842)

    When I looked at the numbers, all I could think of was "that wouldn't even come up to a good bonus at Goldman Sachs".

    Which ones are the bank robbers again?

    Goldman Sachs aren't robbing banks, they're using banks to rob us.

  • by aaandre ( 526056 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @02:11PM (#31416648)

    When you say cybercrooks, do you include financial institutions that

    1. Practice coputer-managed microtrading using the advantage of their high-availability data streams, proprietary software and huge capital (other people's money) to squeeze profit from the market without contributing anything positive to anybody or anything?

    2. Create financial instruments and products with the only purpose to use legal loopholes for profit?

    3. Use usury to create perpetual profit from everyone who borrows other perople's money from them, practically causing enslavement?

    Just wondering.

  • by rcamans ( 252182 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @04:18PM (#31418414)

    All businesses (except banks) will tell you that they lose more thru employee theft than outsider theft. But banks do not want you to know how bad it is, so they keep it quiet. I dated a girl who was a bank teller. She told me that she felt she deserved nice clothes, so she would keep some of the deposits. After $2,000 or so, the bank would catch her and let her go (not get their money back). No report to the police, nothing. Since her only job skill was bank teller, she would just get a job at a different bank...
    $25M was reported to the feds, but how much went unreported?

  • Re:Hostages.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @04:49PM (#31418874) Journal
    Hah. Go ahead and read any of Hoover's biographies, if it makes no sense to you. Times aren't that different now. There are still turf wars going on.

    The creation of the DHS was supposed to smooth those out, but has been very ineffective in doing so.
  • Small fry (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wonko the Sane ( 25252 ) * on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @05:13PM (#31419204) Journal

    The real crooks extorted $24 trillion [washingtontimes.com] from a sovereign nation by threatening elected officials with martial law.

  • Re:Hostages.. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @06:29PM (#31420238)

    Outlaw guns and this will happen more often. Arm every citizen and I doubt anyone will be dumb enough to use one in anger.

    You seriously underestimate the how angry, greedy, desperate, etc... an otherwise fairly intelligent human being can get! And by "you" I mean both the person I'm replying to and the one that modded them "Informative". It isn't exactly unheard of for people to be violent without thinking of the consequences at all, especially when experiencing strong emotions like anger.

    Regardless of if everyone packing heat actually reduces the threat of gun violence compared to our current situation, it can never totally eliminate it. In the post Civil-War West gunfights happened much less frequently than popular culture would indicate, but they did happen [wikipedia.org] in an environment where gun use and ownership was very common. If what you wrote was literially correct there wouldn't be any gunfights to list at all.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.