IBM Discovers Million Dollar Bank Transfer Scam

An article review.

The Dyre Wolf Scheme reaches new level of sophistication


IBM security researchers have uncovered a new, highly sophisticated bank transfer scheme. It seems to be run by a well-funded group of cyber criminals located in Eastern Europe and has successfully stolen more than 1 million dollars. The scheme has been called “The Dyre Wolf” for the use of Dyre malware and the addition of sophisticated social engineering tactics.

The scheme starts out with a simple spear phishing technique whereby an employee at the targeted organization gets an email containing a malware infected attachment. Once the employee opens the email attachment containing the malware, the malware is able to be installed. The malware then downloads the Dyre software, and waits for the user to visit a targeted banking site.

Once the user attempts to access one of the hundreds of targeted banking sites, the Dyre malware will alter the response from the site to indicate that there is a problem with the user’s account. The user is then prompted to call a 1-800 number to address the issue. This is where the sophisticated social engineering comes into play.

It’s interesting that the hackers use the same toll free number across all the targeted sites, but they still know which bank to answer the phone as. The person on the other end of the phone was an actual English speaking human being. This falsely builds credibility and by the time the caller hangs up, the wire transfer is already complete.

Orchestrated attacks are nothing new. The scheme obviously works well as it has led to multiple successful dupes by the hackers. These types of attacks where the hackers coordinate social engineering, malware, and hacking activities to target an institution may seem farfetched, but they are growing in complexity and financial reward.

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