Three banks in Mexico were the victims of an attempted cyberattack that aimed to gain access to the country’s electronic payment systems.
According to American Banker, the attempted hack, which happened on Friday (April 27), forced the banks to enact contingency plans, which could have caused delays in money transfers. However, the country’s central bank noted that client money wasn’t affected by the incident.
Established in 2004, the SPEI system allows users to electronically transfer money between deposit accounts through a private, encrypted network operated by Mexico’s central bank.
Sources reported that three banks experienced “incidents” when operating SPEI on Friday. Banco de Mexico said they will be connecting to the central bank’s network under “contingency schemes.”
Mexican banking and financial services holding company Grupo Financiero Banorte also had an “incident” with an intermediary process of the system it uses to connect to SPEI, but service has been reestablished, the bank said in a tweet on Friday. However, the bank has not confirmed that it was targeted by cyber criminals.
In addition, the central bank asked Banco del Bajio SA to connect to SPEI through an alternate network on Friday. However, a spokesman noted that the bank’s payment transfer system never failed and no client money was affected.
No government banks registered any problems, the Finance Ministry said in an emailed response. SPEI’s infrastructure was not impacted by the attempted hack.
This incident comes less than four months after hackers attempted to steal money from Bancomext, Mexico’s government-run export bank. As a result, the lender had to suspend operations in its international payment platform.
Cyber criminals have increased their attempts to hack financial institutions around the world. Earlier this year, Russian bank officials revealed that hackers lifted over one billion roubles ($17 million) from the country’s banks in 2017 using the Cobalt Strike security testing tool. And in 2016, the hacker group Anonymous went after eight central banks, including the Dutch Central Bank, the Bank of Greece and the Bank of Mexico.