A classic scheme
According to the Russian central bank, this latest hacking incident is a classic scheme and was disclosed in a report on cyber attacks that targeted Russian banks at the very bottom. The report added that the cyber attack was conducted by compromising the workplace security of a specific Swift system manager.
The central bank declined to name the affected institution, but they did confirm that the theft enabled hackers to pocket $6 million as a result.
So far there is no information available on the culprits behind the scheme.
Reuters published that a central bank spokesperson confirmed that the hackers managed to compromise and infiltrate a computer of the affected bank and thereafter manipulated the Swift system which sent millions of roubles to their accounts.
In an official statement, the Russian central bank confirmed that the hackers used the Swift system to conduct the transaction and to withdraw the stolen funds. The bank added that both the bank and the Swift system were targeted during this attack.
Swift is a major key player when it comes to global banking. The system is used in over 200 countries by over 11,000 banks and financial institutions and processes trillions of dollars worth of monetary transactions every single day.
In 2017, the Brussels-headquartered firm issued a warning which stated that hackers were using increasingly sophisticated techniques in order to orchestrate and conduct cybercrimes and attacks. The warning was following with a suggestion to tighten the security measurements of all computers used in banks to conduct transactions.
According to Swift spokesperson, Natasha de Teran, the company never comments on individual instances but emphasized that the Swift system itself has never before been compromised.
Reuters quoted de Teran when she stated that when potential fraud is reported to Swift, the company offers assistance to the affected users or entity in the sense that they help them tighten their own security.
In the last few years, hackers have increasingly targeted banks all over the world with the goal of compromising the highly lucrative Swift system.
Last weekend, the India-based City Union Bank confirmed that hackers have comprised its system to transfer over $2 million fraudulent transfers to China, Dubai, and Turkey using the Swift system.
Last year, the Russian bank, Globex, confirmed that they fell victim to cybercriminals who attempted to steal over 55 million rouble from the bank using the Swift system.
In the beginning of 2016, several banks were targeted by similar schemes which caused the Ecuadorian bank Banco del Austro to lose $9 million and the Bangladesh central bank to lose over $81 million.