IMF cyber-attack led by hackers seeking ‘privileged information’

From The Guardian UK:

Experts suspect source of targeted attack to be nation state as reports suggest IMF systems have been under attack for months

Charles Arthur, technology editor, Sunday 12 June 2011

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is investigating a serious cyber-attack in which some of its systems were compromised and used to access internal data.

Security experts said the source seemed to be a “nation state” aiming to gain a “digital insider presence” on the network of the IMF, the inter-governmental group that oversees the global financial system and brings together 187 member countries.

Tom Kellermann, a cybersecurity expert who has worked for the IMF and was in charge of cyberintelligence in the World Bank’s treasury team, said the intrusion could have yielded a treasure trove of non-public economic data used by the IMF to promote exchange rate stability, support balanced international trade, and provide resources to remedy members’ balance-of-payments crises. “It was a targeted attack,” said Kellermann, who serves on the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance.

The attack will increase concerns over low-level cyberwarfare waged by governments for economic and industrial espionage purposes, which have grown in recent weeks with announcements by the chancellor, George Osborne, of cyber-attacks on the Treasury and by defence secretary Liam Fox of a “sustained attack” on the Ministry of Defence.

Earlier this year it was revealed that computers at France’s finance ministry had been hacked and were silently redirecting data to websites in China, apparently in an effort to steal documents relating to February’s G20 summit.

The code used in the IMF incident was developed specifically for the attack on the institution, said Kellermann, now chief technology officer at cyberconsultancy AirPatrol.

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One Response to “IMF cyber-attack led by hackers seeking ‘privileged information’”

  1. Andrea B. Says:

    The IMF being complaining about being attacked.

    Does anyone else see the irony on this?

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