Hackers steal $1 billion, divers find 2,000 gold coins

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Israel coins
Archaeologists are thrilled over the 2,000 gold coins found near Israel.

We’ve come a long way from the days of masked bandits sticking up banks in the Wild West, as criminals armed with keyboards and hacking skills go online for modern thefts. Hackers robbed upwards of $1 billion from global banks in the biggest heist ever!

In a well-coordinated strike that took place over the past two years, hackers went after bank funds rather than well-guarded customer accounts, and they even made ATMs spew cash.

How did they break in? Well, they used a rather simple technique called “phishing”, sending fake e-mails to bank employees that contained harmful viruses called “malware”.

Unsuspecting bankers clicked on links in these e-mails, which were disguised to look like official bank communications, and then the malware snuck into the bank’s security systems. There, the hackers patiently watched from the shadows, learning the ins and outs of the banks, tricking the computers into giving up millions of dollars, and covering their tracks. Experts estimate that upwards of $1 billion were stolen, in dozens of attacks that targeted about 30 banks, most of which are located in Russia.

Before hackers, there were pirates, and you can be sure that they would’ve been trading in their parrots for the 2,000 gold coins found at the bottom of the sea in the ancient Mediterranean harbor of Caesarea. Divers recently found a 1,000-year-old underwater treasure trove in the largest discovery of gold coins in Israel ever! Archaeologists believe the treasure may have come from the shipwreck of an official government treasury boat, which might have been on its way to Egypt with collected taxes. The coins may have also been meant to pay the salaries of soldiers stationed in Caesarea’s military fortress. What country were the gold coins from? Well, most of the pieces trace their origins to a Muslim empire that once ruled North Africa and the Middle East around the first millennium.

Featured image courtesy of elhombredenegro on Flickr. Image of gold coins courtesy of Israel Antiquities Authority.