Dridex is one of the most serious online threats facing consumers and businesses, according to security firm Symantec Corp. (Photo: Thinkstock)

(Bloomberg) – Investigators have linked malware used by Russian and eastern European cyber gangs to a string of bank heists that culminated in the record-breaking theft of $81 million from Bangladesh’s central bank, according to people familiar with the probe.

The tools used in some of the attacks on as many as 12 banks, mostly in Southeast Asia, match those deployed by the so-called Dridex crime gangs, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the investigation is confidential. They operate in Russia and former parts of the Soviet Union including Moldova and Kazakhstan.

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