India’s ElectraCard Services, a credit card processing company, is one of two companies whose security was breached in a $45 million cyberheist, anonymous sources told media outlets.
ElectraCard Services processes prepaid credit cards for National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah PSC (RAKBANK), a Middle Eastern bank. U.S. prosecutors on Thursday pinpointed ElectraCard as one of the victims of the online attack, Reuters reported.
According to prosecutors, an international gang hit two large companies within the past six months: first, in December, when $5 million was withdrawn, and a second time, in February, when the band of criminals extracted $40 million.
The criminals hacked into the companies' networks, raised the balances on their prepaid debit cards, and then withdrew the excess money. The U.S. processing company has not been named, but it was said they used MasterCards.
Officials close to the situation at ElectraCard Services and RAKBANK have yet to comment on the situation.
Reuters reported that MasterCard bought 12.5 percent stake in RAKABANK in 2010, but stressed to authorities it was not involved in the attack.
According to cyber security experts, the speed and scope of the $45 million bank theft is unprecedented. There were operatives in 27 countries helping the gang take out thousands of dollars from ATMs with fraudulent prepaid cards, US prosecutors said.
Details of the extraordinary heist were revealed on Thursday by the US Justice Department during an indictment against 8 men accused of being the New York facet of the operation. Seven of the men have been arrested, Reuters reported.
Alberto Lajud-Pena, who was the supposed leader of the New York unit, was shot and killed during a robbery attempt in the Dominican Republic on April 27. Authorities found $100,000 cash and various weapons in the house he was killed in, but it wasn’t determined if the murder of money were released to the cyber theft.
The investigation is still ongoing, with Germany being the only other country so far to announce any arrested related to the online heist. Prepaid cards are now being touted as the “Achilles heel” of the global financial industry.