February 23, 2018 by

Hackers Stole $6 Million From Russian Bank via SWIFT System

Russia’s central bank has revealed a cyberheist wherein unknown hackers stole nearly 340 million roubles (approx. $6 million) from an unnamed Russian bank last year.

In a report on digital thefts in the Russian banking sector, Russia’s central bank has briefly revealed details of one successful cyber heist using SWIFT, the world’s primary financial messaging system.

According to Reuters, the disclosure was reportedly ‘buried at the bottom’ of the report, pointing to “one successful attack on the work place of a SWIFT system operator.

The central bank notably added:

The volume of unsanctioned operations as a result of this attack amounted to 339.5 million roubles.

A central bank spokesman confirmed the hackers, still known, seized control of a computer at the Russian bank before using the SWIFT system to transfer the money into their own bank accounts.

The SWIFT interbanking system has seen a spate of cyber heists in recent years including the case of the notable $81 million Bangladesh Bank Robbery of 2016. As the world’s primary messaging system, SWIFT routinely transfers trillions of dollars every day and insists that its own systems have never been compromised by hackers. However, the entity admitted that hackers were gaining more sophisticated techniques and tools to launch new attacks in a climate where digital heists are becoming common.

As such, Brussels-based SWIFT refused to comment on the specific attack involving the Russian bank, with a spokeswoman stating:

When a case of potential fraud is reported to us, we offer our assistance to the affected user to help secure its environment.

In early 2016, cyber criminals attempted to steal nearly a billion dollars from Bangladesh Central Bank’s Federal Reserve account in New York. Ultimately, hackers were able to wire $81 million via the SWIFT system, still leading to one of the biggest bank heists of all time.

Image credit: Pixabay.

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