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December 5, 2016

Hackers steal $31m from Russian central bank

Russian government officials say the country was under cyber attack

By CBR Staff Writer

The Russian central bank has confirmed that hackers stole RUB2bn ($31m) from accounts at the bank.

However, the central bank did not give details about when the cyberattack had taken place.

An official at the central bank’s press office Ekaterina Glebova was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying: “We can’t say exactly when, but we can say today it was stolen.”

The incident highlights the growing number of cyber attacks on financial institutions across the globe.

The Russian central bank security executive Artiom Sychev said that hackers had attempted to steal RUB5bn but the bank was able to recover a part of it, Reuters reported.

russia-central-bank-logo_homerussia-central-bank-logo_homeSychyov said that hackers accessed accounts by faking a client’s credentials.

The bank said that it had detected a plot by foreign spy agencies to create “chaos” in the country’s banking system via a coordinated wave of cyber attack.

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Glebova said that the central bank’s security team had obtained information about the attacks and contacted police and security forces.

She added that the country’s apex bank has sent special recommendations to domestic banks, talked with ministers and institutions directly and initiated measures to prepare for additional attacks on the nation’s financial system.

Glebova said: “We have to be ready.”

In February, hackers stole $81m (£56m) from Bangladesh’s central bank, alarming many countries to beef up the security systems.

The attack used the SWIFT network, which transmits messages between financial institutions.

In September, SWIFT chief information security officer said that the banking industry needs to work towards information sharing if it is to deal with new cyber threats.

SWIFT is the primary communications channel for financial institutions engaged in correspondent banking around the world, transmitting messages relating to payments, securities, treasury and trade between financial institutions.

Similarly, an attack on Tesco Bank, in November, led to 9000 customers losing their money in fraudulent transactions.

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