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Preventing a Hack Attack

When a giant international cyber-theft ring was broken up last week, details emerged about a new tactic hackers are using: bombarding individual and business phones with incessant calls using automated dialing programs and, while the phones are tied up, raiding bank and brokerage accounts.

If the financial institutions can't reach the victims to ask about the suspicious activity, the transactions often go through, law-enforcement officials say. It is a new twist on so-called denial-of-service attacks, in which hackers overload financial-services websites with information in order to crash them.

The cyber-theft ring—in which dozens of arrests were made in the U.S., the U.K., the Netherlands and Ukraine, according to court documents and federal officials—allegedly used the tactic, among others.

The ring was responsible for losses of $70 million from accounts at various banks and brokerage firms, including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., E*Trade Financial Corp. and TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.'s TD Ameritrade, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. More...

10-10-2010 20:35