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OFFBEAT

€1 million swiped from ATMs using bent forks

French police are looking for a gang of thieves after it was revealed that €1 million in cash has been stolen from ATMs across France using a novel technique.

€1 million swiped from ATMs using bent forks
Photo: Pommes Fritz 123

Over the past few weeks, over several transactions, the thieves have managed to take €1 million by using a bent fork to jam open the cash distributor.

One source explained to local paper Le Parisien how they did it: “CCTV footage allowed us to figure out exactly what they were doing.

“After making one transaction with their bank cards they insert a small fork with the teeth bent back into the cash distributor.”

Then they make a second, much bigger withdrawal, which they cancel before the transaction is made. By then the cash is prepared in the distributor, which they pull out with the help of the fork.

Four arrests were made in connection to the theft in Le Havre at the beginning of this week. Police are looking for about 10 more gang members, all thought to originate from Romania.

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CRIME

Hackers post French hospital patient data online

Hackers who crippled a French hospital and stole a trove of data last month have released personal records of patients online, officials have confirmed.

Hackers post French hospital patient data online

The cyberattackers demanded a multimillion dollar ransom from the Corbeil-Essonnes hospital near Paris a month ago, but the institution refused to pay.

The hospital said the hackers had now dumped medical scans and lab analyses along with the social security numbers of patients.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the unspeakable disclosure of hacked data,” health minister François Braun tweeted on Sunday.

Hospitals around the world have been facing increasing attacks from ransomware groups, particularly since the pandemic stretched resources to breaking point.

The problem has been acute in France, where officials estimated early last year that healthcare institutions were facing on average an attack every week.

President Emmanuel Macron last year called the attacks during the pandemic a “crisis within a crisis” and announced an extra one billion euros for cybersecurity.

During last month’s attack, the Corbeil-Essonnes hospital shut down its emergency services and sent many patients to other institutions.

At one point, officials said the only technology still working was the telephone.

Rather than selling the trove of data, the hacker has dumped at least some of it for download on the “dark web” — a hidden part of the internet that requires special software to access.

Analysts said it seemed to be a tactic to put pressure on the hospital, even though public institutions are banned by French law from paying ransoms.

Cybersecurity researcher Damien Bancal, who revealed the leak and has seen the files, told AFP the worry is that other criminals will now launch scams with the data that has already been divulged.

In response to the leak on the weekend, the hospital severely restricted access to its systems and told patients to be extremely vigilant when receiving emails, text messages or phone calls.

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