A record-high ¥2.91 billion (S$33 million) was stolen in 2014 from Japanese bank accounts accessible through the Internet, about double the amount illegally taken the year before, the National Police Agency said Thursday.
According to the NPA, there were 1,876 cases of such theft in 2014. The surge in losses was mainly the result of thieves pilfering ¥837 million from corporate accounts at local banks and shinkin banks - about 18 times more than the amount taken in 2013.
A total of ¥1.46 billion was stolen from online accounts in 2013.
Clients of small and midsize businesses who use online banking at such institutions appear to be increasingly targeted by the cybercriminals. According to the NPA, 102 financial institutions confirmed that money had been illegally taken from customer accounts in 2014, up from 32 the previous year.
Of this number, 86 were local banks, shinkin banks and credit unions, up from 20 in 2013. Online accounts at commercial banks, Japan Post Bank and direct banks were drained of about ¥1.9 billion, up from ¥1.28 billion in 2013. Cybercriminals stole ¥1.05 billion from local banks, shinkin banks and credit unions, up from ¥123 million.
The average amount taken in each case of theft from corporate accounts at a local bank or similar institution was ¥5.77 million, almost quadruple the ¥1.55 million stolen on average across all types of accounts and institutions. Methods including infecting computers with a virus and setting up fake financial institution websites to steal clients' IDs and passwords, which would then be used to transfer money to the thieves' accounts.Speech