Following a hack on its central bank, it would appear that Russia is now short about $31 million. On Friday, the financial institution announced that a breach resulted in the theft of 2 billion rubles, or $31 million, in the latest cyberattack to make headlines. This sum is actually less than the hackers’ initial goal, said Central bank official Artyom Sychoyov, who noted in a briefing that the criminals had initially hoped to make off with around 5 billion rubles (around $78 million).
According to the latest reports, the hack was carried out using falsified client credentials — the bank has provided little more information regarding the hackers’ methodologies. “We can’t say exactly when, but we can say today it was stolen,” Ekaterina Glebova, an official in the central bank’s press office, told The Wall Street Journal. As a result of the attack, Russia says that it is fortifying its defenses when it comes to cybersecurity.
This is by no means the first major financial institution to fall victim to such an attack. Since 2015, Ecuador, the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Vietnam have suffered similar breaches, and it would appear that the trend is only growing more rampant as hackers grow bolder (and security measures remain relatively stagnant). The International Monetary Fund has warned that these emerging-market economies are more at risk than ever due to problems with correspondent banking relationships.
Central bank has since contacted law enforcement officials, and has also passed along its recommendations to other banks in Russia. Moreover, Glebova added that the institution is setting up conversations with ministers and other organizations to ensure they are protected from any further potential attacks on Russia’s financial network. “We have to be ready,” Glebova said. It may just be the understatement of the century.