Cybersecurity experts advise financial institutions to remain vigilant as the number of high-profile cyberattacks targeting them and governments has increased in the past two years. Hackers breached the network of the Central Bank of Russia and made off with almost 2 billion rubles ($31 million), reported Reuters on Friday. They had initially planned to steal 5 billion rubles.
Although the bank has not disclosed full details on the breach, nor the identity of the attackers, the theft allegedly took place across 2016 by forging a client account.
“We can’t say exactly when, but we can say today it was stolen,” Ekaterina Glebova, a bank official, told The Wall Street Journal.
JPMorgan Chase, the Central Bank of Russia, Bank of Ecuador, Tesco Bank, major Indian Banks and Bangladesh Bank are among the many financial institutions breached this year. In the Bangladesh Bank hack, criminals tried to steal $951 million by transferring the money to fake accounts around the world. The vulnerabilities in the SWIFT global payment network have repeatedly put at risk the 11,000 financial institutions using the system.
Using coordinated attacks and bank-hacking malware, hackers can easily divert funds by remaining undetected. By stealing client names, addresses, emails and phone numbers, they contribute to the development of a global money laundering plot that law enforcement is trying to bring down.
To prevent massive data breaches, financial institutions have to deploy strong firewalls to safeguard their systems and eliminate weaknesses, and stick to the SWIFT security guidelines. In addition, customers have to refrain from reusing passwords for multiple accounts and look out for phishing scams via email or SMS. Customers will never be asked to reveal personal and financial information through an email. Should this happen, the institution must be immediately contacted.