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U.S. Banks Lose Big to Cyberthieves

Cyberthieves have stolen hundreds of millions of dollars from banks by hacking into ATM machines and electronically forging transfers,an FBI agent told Reuters yesterday.

Particularly in the last couple of years, the threats have spiked," said Shawn Henry, the agency's assistant director of its cyber division. "Attacks on our financial sector are significant, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars."

The bureau knew of one bank whose security system was breached and which lost $10 million in cash in a day, while another lost $5 million, enough to put it out of business.

 "The bank was in business on Friday (and) was out of business on Monday," he said. Henry did not identify either bank.

The Obama administration, notes Reuters, has pledged $355 million to the Department of Homeland Security to shore up both public and private cyberinfrastructures while initiating a review of the government's cyberdefenses. The report, due mid-April, is expected to be released soon, Henry told the news agency.