Security & Fraud

Russian Central Bank Says $6M Hack Linked To SWIFT

The Central Bank of the Russian Federation is reporting a SWIFT hack last year that saw hackers made 339.5 million rubles ($6 million) disappear.  The disclosure was snuck onto the end of a central bank report on digital thefts out of Russian banks, according to Reuters reports.

The central bank said it had been sent information about “one successful attack on the workplace of a SWIFT system operator.”

“The volume of unsanctioned operations as a result of this attack amounted to 339.5 million rubles,” the bank noted, without providing further details on the circumstances surrounding the theft.  SWIFT has also declined comment, other than noting that it does not comment on specific security issues.

”When a case of potential fraud is reported to us, we offer our assistance to the affected user to help secure its environment,” said the spokeswoman, Natasha de Teran.

A central bank spokesman quoted Artem Sychev, deputy head of the regulator’s security department, as saying that hackers had used “a common scheme, when they take control of a computer.” This is not the first move made on a Russian bank via SWIFT messages — as 2017 closed out, hackers tried to crack Russian state bank Globex for 55 million rubles.  And there was a successful hack of $81 million out of the Bangladesh central bank a little under two years ago that was never fully resolved.

SWIFT has declined to disclose the number of attacks or identify any victims.

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