Over 100 banks hit by sophisticated cyberattack

Eurozone member Ireland on Thursday auctioned short-term public debt at a negative yield for the first time as the European Central Bank's stimulus programme drives down borrowing costs across Europe (AFP Photo/Jean-Sebastien Evrard)

Washington (AFP) - A sophisticated global cyberattack struck more than 100 banks in 30 countries stealing hundreds of millions of dollars, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Citing a soon to be released report from computer security company Kaspersky Lab, the newspaper said the attack involved malicious software that gave hackers long-term access to banking systems.

A group of Russians, Chinese and Europeans was able to siphon off around $300 million in one of the world's largest bank robberies, the report said.

The money was transferred to bank accounts around the world in small-value amounts to avoid detection.

Hackers largely focused on banks in Russia, but millions of dollars were also taken from banks in Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States as well, the Times said.

Hackers had such advanced access to the banks' systems that they could force ATM machines to dispense cash at specific times and locations where hackers could pick it up.