>> Cyber criminals from Russia used malware planted on Android mobile devices to steal from domestic bank customers, Reuters can report. The hacking suspects, 16 of whom were arrested by Russian law enforcement authorities,November last year infected more than a million smartphones in Russia, on average compromising 3,500 devices a day.
Reuter's Jack Stubbs in Moscow says it was easy for the average bank user to be fooled.>> These hackers tricked Russian account bank holders into downloading malware onto their phones via fake mobile banking applications or even applications for pornography. Once for malware was on the Android phone, they could then use the phone to send and receive text messages.
In Russia there's a common system where you can send and receive bank transfers to your friends or family just by sending a simple text message. So they did this to send the money into their own accounts.>> Targeting customers of state lender SberBank, Alpha Bank, and online payments company, Kiwi, the cyber criminals exploited weaknesses in the company's' SMS text message transfer services.
They were able to initiate transfers of up to $120 to one of 6,000 bank accounts they set up. The hackers were also planning to target European lenders before their arrest. In the end, their campaign raised a relatively small amount of around 50 million rubles, or $892,000. But they had obtained more sophisticated software with the plan to attack clients of banks in France and potentially, other nations.
Their plan could potentially have caused serious problems for countries with weaker internet systems.>> So this kind of malware exploit is particularly dangerous for banks that rely on this bank money transfers using SMS messages. These are particularly banks in emerging economies, where there's a less developed Internet infrastructure such as in Eastern Europe and obviously here in Russia.
>> The Russian Interior Ministries say four of the alleged hackers remained in detention while the others are under house arrest. Russia's relationship to cyber crime is under intense scrutiny after US intelligence officials alleged that Russian hackers had tried to help Donald Trump win the US Presidency by hacking Democratic party servers.
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied that claim.