Cosmos Bank Cyber Attack – Hackers Stole Over 78 Crore

The Cosmos cooperative bank in Pune, among the city’s oldest urban cooperative banks, has fallen prey to cyber fraudsters. Hackers gained access to the bank’s system and stole Rs 94 crore.

A court in Maharashtra’s Pune had found 11 persons guilty. Fahim Shaikh and Mohammad Saeed Iqbal Hussain Jafari of Bhiwandi, Fahim Khan and Shaikh Mohammed Abdul Jabbar of Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, Mahesh Rathod of Nanded, Naresh Maharana of Palghar, U A Waz alias Anthony, Bashir Ahmed and Feroz Shaikh of Mumbai, and Abdulla Shaikh and Salman Baig of Thane were convicted.

The Largest Cyber Assaults on An Indian Bank

On August 11, 2018, numerous cloned debit cards of Cosmos Bank were used for thousands of ATM transactions from India and 28 other countries over seven hours.

Reports say a further set of 2,800 transactions totaling Rs 2.5 crore were done in various locations nationwide, while more than 12,000 ATM withdrawals totaling almost Rs 78 crore were made outside of India.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) service was also used to transfer an additional Rs 13.92 crore to a Hong Kong-based organization on August 13, 2018. 

According to the police investigation, Visa cards were used for transactions outside India, while RuPay cards were used for transactions within India.

Notably, in this case, which was reported to the Chaturshringi police station under the provisions of sections 120B, 420, 467, 468, 469, 471, and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the corresponding sections of the Information Technology Act, a total of Rs 94 crore was siphoned.

A bank official claims that early investigation indicates that the hacking activity originated in Canada.

According to the Indian bank, cybercriminals targeted its ATM infrastructure in the first intrusion. It did not disclose how the attack occurred.

Still, it did say that malware was used to disconnect the ATM infrastructure from the central switching system, preventing it from receiving real-time information about cash withdrawals from ATMs.

“We have filed a complaint and are also taking help from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and the RBI to see what can be done,” said Krishnakumar Goyal, a director of the cooperative bank.

He continued by saying that no clients were impacted and that the bank had suffered a loss due to the money being taken out of a pool account.

Pune Court Declares the Accused Guilty

The police arrested 18 people throughout their investigation for their claimed involvement in the cyberattack, who came from various areas. According to the authorities, one accused had passed away, and 17 were being held behind bars.

The majority of people arrested, according to the police, were primarily involved in following handlers’ instructions to withdraw cash from various ATMs using Cosmos Bank cloned cards. The police believe that some of the money they withdrew was given to them as a commission by the racketeers.

Fahim Shaikh, Fahim Khan, Shaikh Mohammed Abdul Jabbar, Mahesh Rathod, Naresh Maharana, Mohammad Saeed Iqbal Hussain Jafari, and Anthony were among the 11 found guilty and given simple imprisonment of four years and seven months, according to the press statement.

According to the release, Feroz Shaikh and Salman Baig received three years of simple jail, while Abdulla Shaikh and Bashir Ahmed received four years each.

Four additional people are still wanted in connection with the investigation, three of whom — Kunal Shukla, Abdul Bhai, and Sumer Shaikh — are believed to be in Dubai, according to the police.

Finally, the Pune City Police and Cosmos Bank successfully recovered Rs 5.72 crore that the scammers had fraudulently placed into a bank in Hong Kong after the malware assault.

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