Make extra sure that there isn’t a debit card skimmer in the machine the next time you stop by an ATM (if that’s even possible). A group of Japanese hackers, still on the lam, apparently used information from such tools to steal the yen equivalent of $12.7 million last week. What’s even more impressive, the crew accomplished the feat in two hours or less which definitely makes them Japan’s own version of the Ocean’s 11 team. We’re imagining secret basement meetings, a pinned map with the location of every single ATM in each region of the country, and a massive note-passing network of saki bars, sushi restaurants, and glamorous hotels overlooking the Tokyo skyline.
Of course, this isn’t as fun and exciting as movie magic seeing as this is $12.7 million of people’s actual money that was stolen so quickly and easily. According to Engadget, most of the customers were a part of the South African Bank database, and the current working theory is that card scanners were used to pull personal information and then that data was used to clone cards that could withdraw the daily maximum cash amount from ATMs. However, this is only a theory and with the culprits in the wind for the time being, there is no confirmation for this hypothesis just yet. If you put aside the human stress and cost of the theft it is staggeringly impressive, but that coolness fades away as soon as you have to think about the strife it causes for each person to have their card cloned.