Hackers Smile As Countries Automate Financial Systems

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Bank vulnerabilities are now becoming easier to identify following the automation of most financial systems across the globe

As the world continues to evolve technologically, humanity has been made very susceptible to these changes as well.

It used to be an intellectual challenge to understand the concept of hacking, but worldwide technological advancements have increased awareness of the skill.

And as the increasing number of cyber attacks shape out to go viral on a global level, the blame shifts away from technology and more toward humans—very many of whom now harness the tools and knowledge to inflict massive catastrophe on governments, institutions and civilizations all around the world.

Hackers repeatedly target the biggest business entities, knowing that they can use their technical abilities to wield power and control over their victims. Banks, for example, are hardly spared.

Bank vulnerabilities are now becoming easier to identify following the automation of most financial systems across the globe.

Many nations are trying as much as possible to digitalize the financial sector in order to ease operations and cut down the cost of employing so many workers in this field.

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Many hackers are smiling with satisfaction as these developments occur.

A digitized financial system makes it easier for hackers to siphon money from bank accounts once they can crack into the automated financial systems.

Hackers make use of bank vulnerabilities to steal funds because most banks establish the automated systems without putting up fraud control measures that can help prevent attacks and fraudsters.

According to a report by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung released two months ago, hackers stole a massive amount of money from bank account holders in a cyberattack done from outside Germany by an unknown foreign hacking network.

The hackers did not just hack the bank accounts; they were able to redirect the SMS that was supposed to be received by specific mobile numbers to themselves.

Hackers have been able to discover vulnerabilities in the System Signaling No. 7 (SS7), where they only need to know the victim’s phone number and they are good to go.

The SS7 allows hackers to reach to the back end system.

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Hackers have been able to discover vulnerabilities in the System Signaling No. 7

Hackers are also able to steal from banks through re-routing the automatic transactions that vendors are supposed to receive or use to pay bills for the government.

A case in point is the hacking that was done at Miami, where hackers took over $3.6 million from City Hall Sun Trust Bank without the bank noticing or even suspecting for about six months.

According to the bank’s city manager, the fraud was first seen after six months of the attack. Hackers were able to steal by way of manipulating automatic online payments.

For the past two years, Nairobi-Kenya has lost over Ksh30 billion (US $291.3 million).

This comes after state officials arrested 11 suspects in an operation trying to secure the country’s financial systems from hackers.

This event left Kenyans wondering if cybercrime unit officers, a former Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and also United States citizens, were among the suspects.

A 28-year-old man was taken to a Milimani court over charges to have hacked into the KRA systems, a cyberattack that led to the loss of more than Ksh4 billion.

He denied the charges with objections that he had never gotten involved in the hacking.

Mr. Alex Mutungi Mutuku on Tuesday, March 2015 denied the charge of electronic fraudulence.

The crooks include two American citizens who installed malware into the KRA computer systems which enabled them to take control of millions of shillings.

Proportionate to the incident, the KRA boss confirmed that indeed some of its members had been involved and were among the financial fraudsters.

The 35-year-old police officer Mr. Clvin Otieno Ogalo alleged to have been conducting the malicious business between 3 p.m. and midnight.

He had masked his face well that he could pull up the game by being one of the choir members at a particular church in Nairobi.

What allowed the alleged hacker to have unencumbered access to the KRA computer systems had been a discovered, hidden laptop within the network chambers which had been connected to the ports.

A Bangladesh central bank official’s computer was hacked by unidentified hackers who made payments worth $81 million via SWIFT, a customer security program and having carried out the biggest-ever cyber swoop.

This is according to the Bangladesh diplomat at the end of a Philippine Senate inquiry last year.

Automated Financial Systems (AFS), founded in the 1970s in the United States, provides banks and financial institutions with real-time, fully integrated, full-service loans and processing capabilities 24 hours a day.

Almost all countries in the world are currently enjoying accessibility to AFS, and have solutions to provide the state with information technology platforms for loans services while reaching amounted costs—hence, accommodating growth and development.

This technology for its solutions has improved its disaster recovery environment and decreased spur-of-the-moment outages and supporting functions required from daily operations.

A three-month study on the health of the United States’ largest financial institution shows that some banks need more capital to withstand deeper economic downfall due to cybercrime threats or electronic fraudulence.

This has included Bank of America, which calls for $34.5 billion to withstand the threat. Some questions erupt whether the test will be rigorous enough.

Some believe many U.S. banks remain vulnerable.

Also, 100 banks got hacked back in 2014, with losses totaling $900 million. About 22 percent of the amount could be held with the bank, a fund that hackers were not able to access.

But 10 percent of the time, they were able to pull the fund back in. This means that 68 percent of the time, those funds were unrecovered.

Out of 68 percent then, 37 percent were not declared non-recovered.

The banks re-embarked the account as long as they examined everything and determined that it could have cost banks more than enough to disclose the reality to customers.

Businesses are hit harder in these sorts of hacks; 60 percent of them are likely to lose their money.

Because this is a growing worldwide phenomenon in the automated financial systems industry, you would expect the banking systems to have the highest level of security.

But even the largest banks are not immune.

This year alone, about four central banks have been hacked.

This is, therefore, a major threat to the financial system that every customer (individuals and businesses) would assume to be highly secured.

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