Russian security company, Kaspersky Lab, is set to deliver a report today identifying a hacking ring estimated to have stolen up to $US 1 billion ($AUS 1.29 billion) from banks around the world. The report is to be tabled at a cyber-security conference in Cancun, Mexico attended by specialists from around the world.

Kaspersky Lab says they have been tracking the activities of the hackers since 2013. The ring is estimated to have accessed the funds of more than 100 banks in 30 countries through phishing schemes, identity theft, and other backdoor methods. Once they had breached computer security they would watch the day-to-day activities of bank staff and computer transfers, collecting information –including screen shots and video of employees. With this information they would identify the best way of accessing the bank’s funds.

In some instances they would program ATMs to dispense money at pre-arranged times or transfer larger sums to fake accounts.

In a story first reported to the New York Times the hackers were said to have targeted banks, rather than individual customers, and money rather than information. ”They’re flexible and quite aggressive and use any tool they find useful for doing whatever they do,” said Vncent Diaz in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

Some banks have reported thefts of $US7.3 million ($AUS 9.4 million)and $US 10 million ($AUS 12.86 million)through their online platforms being breached.Most banks targeted have been in Russia, the U.S., Germany, china and the Ukraine. Though it is feared they are widening their circle to include the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.

The report does not identify individual banks, but says Kaspersky Lab is working with domestic law enforcement to track the money and identify the culprits.

“We cannot comment on individual actions our members have taken, but on balance we believe our members are taking appropriate actions to prevent and detect these inds of attacks and minimise any effects on their customers. The report that Russian banks were the primary victims of these attacks may be a significant change in targeting strategy by Russian-speaking cyber-criminals.

The Whitehouse is concerned about domestic cybersecurity in the wake of high profile data breaches in multinational businesses like Home Depto, Target and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The US congress is pushing to have individual state laws governing cybersecurity replaced with a national standard. It will include a legal obligation for businesses to report the theft of its customer’s personal information within 30 days of discovery.

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