A European Central Bank (ECB) website has been shut down after a malicious hacking attack infected the site.
Reuters is reporting that the incident happened on Thursday (Aug 15). No “market-sensitive” data that could compromise the markets was stolen, the ECB said. The attack was on its Banks’ Integrated Reporting Dictionary (BIRD), which provides bankers with information on how to create supervisory and statistical reports.
However, the ECB said malware had been maliciously placed on the server hosting site and that the personal information of subscribers may have been stolen.
The attack, which dates back to at least December of 2018, was not discovered for months. It was discovered during routine maintenance work.
“The ECB is contacting people whose data may have been affected,” the bank said. “The breach succeeded in injecting malware onto the external server to aid phishing activities.”
The BIRD initiative started in 2015 and was led by the Eurosystem of eurozone central banks in conjunction with the banking industry. Participation was not required, but information was freely given to anyone who was interested. The initiative was hosted by a third-party provider.
Hackers have recently targeted the central banks of other countries as well, including Malaysia and Ecuador. In 2016, hackers stole $81 million from the Bangladeshi central bank from an account at the New York Fed. The perpetrators used fake orders on the SWIFT payments system.
The ECB also recently spoke out against cryptocurrency and said it wouldn’t recognize it as an actual currency. The bank, responding during a Q&A session on Twitter, added that it didn’t have any plans to put bitcoin into its reserves.
“Bitcoin is not a currency; it rather is an asset and is very volatile,” Central Bank officials wrote, quoting Chief Economist Philip Lane. The statement underpins the bank’s ongoing icy stance on cryptocurrency in general.