Cybercriminals Drain $45 Million From ATMs Around The World

Prosecutors in New York have announced charges against eight men for their roles in a "massive, 21st century bank heist." The operation stole more than $45 million from ATMs around the world in a matter of hours. Prosecutors declined to comment on who organized the heist, or where the hackers may be located.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right, prosecutors are calling it the biggest bank heist in New York City since the 1970s. They say a gang of cybercriminals drained $45 million from ATMs around the world.

Here's NPR's Joel Rose.

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: United States Attorney Loretta Lynch says the eight men charged in New York were able to withdraw $2.8 million in cash in just one day, in February.

LORETTA LYNCH: This was a 21st century bank heist. But instead of guns and masks, this cybercrime organization used laptops and malware.

ROSE: Lynch says the hackers were able to infiltrate bank computers and remove the limits from prepaid ATM cards. Then it was up to crews on the ground in more than 20 countries, to do the rest.

LYNCH: They become a virtual, criminal flash mob, going from machine to machine, drawing as much money as they can before these accounts are shut down.

ROSE: The defendants are all young men from Yonkers, N.Y., who were apparently less than discreet with their sudden windfall. One allegedly snapped a cellphone photo of himself and a fellow defendant next to $40,000 in cash. Seven of the men are under arrest; the eighth was reportedly killed last month in the Dominican Republic.

Prosecutors declined to comment on who organized the international heist, or where in the world the hackers may be located, citing an ongoing investigation.

Joel Rose, NPR News, New York.

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