back to article Malaysians using South African cards pinch US$12.7m in Japan

Carders have made off with US$12.7 million (£8.7 million, A$17.5 million) ripping through 1400 ATMs in a mere two hours last week. The attackers netted ¥1.4 billion in cash from ATMs located in convenience stores across the country using counterfeit credit cards. Sources told local media the 1600 credit cards used in the …

  1. Anonymous Coward

    I couldn't work out how they did that...

    ...then read:

    The crims compromised the bank network to roll-back transactions while other crooks emptied ATMs.

    And I still have no idea.

    1. VinceH Silver badge

      Re: I couldn't work out how they did that...

      That explanation relates to the "one recent large scale attack" referred to more or less as an addendum - and not the thefts actually being reported on this time.

  2. David Roberts

    Long time period?

    14,000 transactions by "up to" 100 people gives 140 plus transactions each.

    So either 140 transactions at the same ATM or rapid movement between sites.

    Either way this looks like 2-3 hours of solid withdrawing unless the ATMs are super fast.

    1. Aodhhan

      Re: Long time period?


      The average taken from each machine is $9000.

      It's likely not every machine had this much left in it's inventory, but many will have more.

      If the maximum you can take out is $900 per card, per transaction... then you can run thru 9000 in just 10 transactions to empty the ATMs inventory (this cross checks with the number of transactions). So it's likely the ATM was emptied in less than 25 minutes.

      Depending on distance between ATMs, the ATMs inventory, etc... one person can drain 4-7 ATMs in 2 hours.

      Given these numbers, the number of people who took part will be closer to 250; not 100.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    queue seven eleven removing foreign card servicing in 3 2 1

    1. Z80
      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Yeah, he's been snookered!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Disaster Waiting to happen

    The Japanese banks still live in the 1980's and for the most part so does their IT infrastructure.

    In many cases Japanese can only withdraw from their own bank ATMs, and foreign issued cards are only acepted in a few places (like 7/11 convenience stores).

    Add to that that most ATMs are not EMV enabled (hello magstripe) and that a good number of transactions are done "offline" or in "batch mode" (transaction is cleared with the issuer some time after the withdrawal).... and you have a nice recipe for a major con exercise like this !

    Maybe this will (at long last) kick the japanese bankers enough where it hurts for things to change.....

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Disaster Waiting to happen

      Maybe this will (at long last) kick the japanese bankers...

      This is still small change

      It will take this happening on a daily basis for them to fix it.

      In addition to that, reporting such losses up the command chain and reflecting them on the accounting sheet in that particular location can be career detrimental. Cough, Cough... Olympus... Cough, Cough... Toshiba... Cough... Cough...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Disaster Waiting to happen

      I think that would require a large demand from the local population... I mean most of their machines can still read a bank book! A few of my favorite places actually take foreign cards one even has a chip and pin machine. To be honest you can get a lot futher with plastic there nowdays then you could a few years back, but then stuff like this may kick it into reverse.

      I mean 90% of their websites wont take foreign plastic hence the boom industry of middlemen shipping.

    3. Z80

      Re: Disaster Waiting to happen

      Unless things have changed since I last used one, the 7/11 machines only give you ¥10,000 notes (~£63). Having them accepted isn't a problem like I imagine using a £50 would be in UK (not even sure if I've ever possessed one of those) but I've been using Japan Post machines on my recent trips since they do increments of ¥1000 - remembering of course to go there during opening hours since all ATMs in Japan appear to be indoors.

      1. julian.smith

        Re: Disaster Waiting to happen

        Japan Post ATMs are indoors but usually in a separate area

        Many branches have out of hours access to these areas - the times are displayed at the entrance. The time varies depending on the size of the branch but can include weekends, rural branches are a bust, the main Post Office in a Prefectural capital will have 24/7/365 access

        The Japanese consumer banking system is an overpriced, overstaffed relic - there are a couple of notable exceptions including Shinsei Bank.

        I presume the banking system in Botswana is more advanced, with lower costs.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Disaster Waiting to happen

      "The Japanese banks still live in the 1980's"

      BBC story from around six years back showing that even then Japan's one-time "cutting edge hi-tech" image was being rendered obsolete by an underbelly of dating, 30-year-old technology.

  5. Fink-Nottle

    South Africa has a system of exchange control in operation which means prior SA Reserve Bank approval is required to take capital out of the country to finance holiday or biz trip.

    SA banks are liable to heavy penalties for breaching foreign exchange regulations, hence they exercise strict control of foreign exchange transactions. They would be well aware which cards have been allocated an overseas currency allowance.

    It would seem to me that either correct verification procedures weren't followed in Japan or there was an inside man at the SA Bank.

    1. kain preacher Silver badge

      Or both.

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