The world banking system is an increasing target of hackers and cybercriminals. The recent cyber bank robbery of the Bangladesh Central Bank in which hackers succeeded in stealing approximately 81 million dollars is just the tip of the iceberg. I reported to you in February of 2015 about the exploits of the Russian cybergang Carbanak that stole as much as a billion dollars from up to a hundred banks worldwide. The full extent of the vulnerability of banks to cybercrime is still unknown because it is believed that many banks that have been victimized by cybercriminals don’t report the thefts to regulatory authorities due to vague standards mandating the reporting of such security breaches.
Now the international hacking collective Anonymous has announced on YouTube a new month-long campaign they are launching against banks around the world. They are referring to this campaign as Operation Icarus. Already, Anonymous has managed to take down the website of the Bank of Greece for a short period of time. The Bank of Greece has indicated, however, that no personal information was accessed and no data was lost. It remains to be seen how serious a threat is posed by the Anonymous’ campaign against the banks, but it will be interesting to see what happens over the next month.
Here is a link to the video announcement of Anonymous of its campaign against the banks of the world. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpGWaa3uCNo
The vulnerabilities in the interconnected world banking system as well as vulnerabilities in the security of individual banks have been and are being exposed by hackers such as those in Carbanak and those responsible for the hacking of the Central Bank of Bangladesh. Greater attention to cybersecurity by banks around the world is critical. In addition, regulators both in the United States and around the world need to establish new standards by which all banks must operate to safeguard their accounts. As for we, the depositors in these institutions, the best we can do is monitor our own accounts regularly for fraudulent activity and make sure that we are not the weakest link when it comes to protecting our user name and password when doing online banking. We should also use dual factor authentication when doing online banking as an additional security measure.