The Clearing House - Corporate Changes in Payment Practices - September 2023

Report: ICBC Subsidiary Disconnects From Electronic Settlement Platform Amid Cyberattack

ICBC, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
The U.S. subsidiary of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) reportedly disconnected itself from an electronic settlement platform for U.S. Treasury securities operated by BNY Mellon after ICBC suffered a ransomware attack, Reuters reported Friday (Nov. 10).
In the meantime, BNY Mellon is manually settling trades of Treasury securities with ICBC Financial Services (ICBC FS), the bank’s U.S. unit.

ICBC confirmed the ransomware attack on Thursday (Nov. 9), and ICBC FS said it was investigating the attack and making progress toward recovering from it, according to the report. 

As of Friday afternoon, a notice on the home page of the ICBC FS website said that the unit experienced a ransomware attack on Wednesday (Nov. 8) and that the attack disrupted some of its systems. 

“Immediately upon discovering the incident, ICBC FS disconnected and isolated impacted systems to contain the incident,” the unit said in the notice. “ICBC FS has been conducting a thorough investigation and is progressing its recovery efforts with the support of its professional team of information security experts. ICBC FS has also reported this incident to law enforcement.” 

Ransomware attacks have become increasingly prevalent, targeting both individuals and organizations across the globe, PYMNTS reported on Oct. 16. These attacks involve malicious actors infiltrating computer systems, encrypting data and demanding a ransom in exchange for the decryption key. 

Amid the growing number of ransomware attacks, a 40-nation alliance, the U.S.-led International Counter Ransomware Initiative, said on Oct. 31 that it plans to pledge not to pay ransoms to cybercriminals

The coalition hopes to cut off hackers from their funding by improving information sharing about ransom payment accounts. 

“As long as there is money flowing to ransomware criminals, this is a problem that will continue to grow,” Anne Neuberger, deputy national security adviser in the Biden administration for cyber and emerging technologies told reporters on Oct. 31. 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also working to fight ransomware and other cyberattacks, in part by “implementing a robust data security enforcement program aimed at ensuring companies take appropriate steps to protect personal data they hold from such attacks.”