HomeNewsBriefMillions Stolen by Hackers Shows Vulnerability of Mexico's Banks
BRIEF

Millions Stolen by Hackers Shows Vulnerability of Mexico's Banks

CYBERCRIME / 4 JUN 2019 BY YURI NEVES EN

Hackers infiltrated Mexico’s banking system to transfer millions of dollars to bogus accounts and then made cash machines shell out the money, in a case that reveals the country’s structural vulnerability to cyber crime.

Authorities have arrested a group of hackers known as the “Bandidos Revolutions Team," which infiltrated Mexico’s domestic financial transfer system, Wired reported. The hackers were able to divert money to false accounts that they controlled. Their associates were then sent to the ATMs to withdraw the cash, netting the group between 100 million and 300 million pesos (between $5.2 million and $15.7 million) per month.

In April of last year, the group carried out the largest cyber attack in Mexican history, siphoning off hundreds of millions of pesos from several banks. Following the attack, Bank of Mexico Governor Alejandro Díaz announced that a new cyber crime unit would be created and tasked with helping Mexico's banks better protect themselves from cyber attacks.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Cyber Crime

The Bandidos Revolutions Team, which operated in several states in northern Mexico, was made up of a dozen young men in their twenties and thirties. On May 15, the leader of the group, Héctor Ortiz Solares, also known as "H-1," was arrested alongside eight other members in the city of Léon. During the arrests, police seized some two dozen luxury cars, as well as motorcycles, weapons, cash, drugs and computer equipment. A number of extravagant purchases made by Solares alerted police to the group's whereabouts.

The group also drew police attention last April after transferring 500 million pesos (around $26 million) to 849 false accounts. In early March, authorities closed in on the group after ATMs in Léon and Tijuana suddenly began spitting out cash.

InSight Crime Analysis

Mexico has had some success in preventing cyber attacks, most notably in January of 2018, when authorities thwarted an attempt to steal $100 million by the Lazarus Group, a cyber crime syndicate with suspected links to North Korea. But major failures continue to occur.

Ironically, the Bandidos Revolutions Team stole millions of dollars using the same tactics that the North Koreans had employed. Cyber crime has increased in Mexico, and only Brazil has faced more cyber crime attacks in Latin America. The banking system remains vulnerable, as shown by the enormous amount of cash the Bandidos Revolutions Team managed to steal.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

The group had been operating for at least five years, but police began tracking them just last year. Their capture ultimately was due to their inability to keep a low profile, and not the ability of Mexican security forces to thwart their attacks.

Experts at the US-based cybersecurity company Symantec have pointed out that, despite such major attacks, little has been done to shore up Mexico’s defense mechanisms against cyber crime. They also expressed little confidence that the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is paying attention to the issue, and warned that cyber criminals will continue to target Mexican institutions in hopes of pulling off another multimillion-dollar heist.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 18 OCT 2011

William J. Krouse, a specialist in domestic security and crime policy, provides a historical and current assessment of gun control…

MEXICO / 20 SEP 2019

The majority of police officers across Mexico are unfit for duty three years after the government established a firm timeframe…

MEXICO / 14 JUN 2017

A self-defense group in Mexico has turned to social media to boast about its members' efforts to take justice…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…