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Screenshot of a breaking news alert e-mail from Q2 2017
The Russian Central Bank recently reported about a breach that occurred earlier this year. According to Forbes, hackers have attempted to steal a total of $45 million from a multitude of accounts using spoofed credentials for one of the Bank’s customers.
Their plans were partly foiled by the bank, which was able to reduce the damage by around $26 million. Some of those funds had been placed into new accounts set up by the hackers during the attack. The bank managed to freeze the accounts before any funds and been transferred out.
Officials revealed yesterday that a foreign actor planned to attack multiple banks and cities in Russia in an attempt to destabilize the entire Russian banking system on December 5.
In addition to direct attacks on banks, the plot reportedly involved a social media disinformation campaign. A government spokesperson didn’t elaborate, but it’s likely that if such a campaign was launched that it would look very much like the fake news reports that ran rampant during the 2016 Presidential election.
Experts believe that false election news was meant to sow distrust in the entire American political system. Russian officials believe whoever is behind the plot against the nation’s banks have a similar goal: to erode confidence in the banking system and potentially cause a run.
Officials have linked the plot to a group of servers in the Netherlands operated by BlazingFast, a hosting company based in the Ukraine. BlazingFast director Anton Onoprichuk told CNN “we cannot find any malicious data,” adding that “nobody can prove that our customers did anything wrong.”