US Banks Hit By Russian Cyber Attacks

The Russia-Ukraine war is being bitterly fought, both on the ground and online, with politicians and cyber security experts alike warning of potential attacks against the US financial industry in general as well as banking.  Now, as predicted at the outset of the attempted invasion of Ukraine, US banks are currently under advanced and sustained cyber attack from Russian connected hackers.

This comes after the western allies have implemented unprecedented, crushing sanctions against Russia since it invaded Ukraine. The impact on the Russian economy has been severe, and many experts believe the Kremlin has vigorously retaliated with cyber attacks.

The large US banks JP Morgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, are often attacked by cyber criminals looking to disrupt operations and steal client information. The usual suspects are most often located in Iran, China and now more often Russia.

Cyber security experts are saying that  financial institutions face particular risks in a less well understood area of their business - the now ubiquitous artificial-intelligence (AI) technologies that handle everything from lending to automated trading are also at risk from attacks.

Attacks by Russia and its operatives are likely to intensify as sanctions and the associated economic toll increase,” said Dan Katz, cyber security and data privacy director at Mazars, a leading financial services consultancy. "Russian attacks on a wide variety of organisations continue to strongly target financial services organisations,” he commented.  This is not only due to the major role of the financial and payments industries play in the global critical infrastructure, and potential data and monetary profits to be had, but also because many US banks still rely on fairly complex or siloed core systems, which are often much trickier to protect.

The US Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) says that their intelligence suggests that the Russian government is continuing to explore cyber attack opportunities 

“Evolving intelligence indicates that the Russian Government is exploring options for potential (new) cyber attacks. Every organisation, large and small, must be prepared to respond to disruptive cyber incidents... As the nation’s cyber defense agency, CISA stands ready to help organisations prepare for, respond to, and mitigate the impact of cyber attacks,”  CISA warned in a recent update.  

Experts are also saying that consumers should also be more concerned about small scale attacks, especially in relation to protecting their personal data. 

Knowing how cyber attacks work, and what you can do to prevent your data from being compromised, is key to preventing your personal information from being breached. But, it’s important to note that there is no perfect way to fully protect yourself from data breaches and continuous checking and staff training is required.

CISA:     Reuters:     WSJ:     SC Magazine:     SC Magazine:     Forbes:    American Banker:    NYPost:  

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