Skip to main content

Could the Chinese military be linked to FDIC cyberattacks?

A pair of hands on a laptop keyboard with two displays.
If we’ve learned anything in the last few months it’s that seemingly, no entity is safe from hacking. From banks to ballot boxes (or rather, voter registration systems), occurrences of high security breaches have been on the rise. And now, the FBI is investigating how hackers managed to make their way into computers at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Unfortunately, this isn’t a new case — it’s been going on since at least 2010.

As per a new Reuters reports, FDIC officials believe the hack was sponsored by the Chinese military. The breach resulted in dozens of computers being compromised, including one used by former FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair. Given that the FDIC is one of the key federal agencies overseeing commercial banks in the U.S. and as such, guards information on millions of Americans’ deposits, to say that its data is extremely important would be something of an understatement. The Corporation also handles confidential plans regarding how major banks would address bankruptcy.

According to Reuters, the FBI has now been involved in the probe examining the breach, though it is unclear how long the investigation has been ongoing. Also ongoing appear to be cyberattacks upon the regulatory body. In fact, the FDIC has reported no fewer than seven cybersecurity incidents deemed “major” between 2015 and 2016. And as per an annual report from the FDIC, there were 159 incidents of unauthorized computer access during fiscal year 2015.

FDIC spokeswoman Barbara Hagenbaugh noted, “We are continuing to take steps to enhance our cybersecurity program,” and further claimed to be tightening information security standards. For example, the bank regulator no longer allows thumb drives, and is said to be coordinating more closely with the Department of Homeland Security to keep such breaches from happening in the future.

As for China’s response to its alleged involvement in the attacks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, “If you have no definitive proof, then it is very hard for you to judge where the attacks really come from.”

Editors' Recommendations

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
Coronavirus vaccine researchers are being targeted by cyberattacks
Cambridge Biotech Moderna Leads in Race For Coronavirus Vaccine

Pharmaceutical companies and vaccine researchers working on a coronavirus vaccine have been the target of hacking attacks, a new report from Microsoft says. The company says these attacks are coming from nation-states, and it condemns the attacks and calls on other states to condemn them too.

Microsoft said in a blog post by Tom Burt, Corporate Vice President, Customer Security & Trust, that it has detected cyberattacks targeting both pharmaceutical companies and researchers in Canada, France, India, South Korea, and the U.S. Most of the attacks targeted organizations that were in the process of developing a coronavirus vaccine, especially those who were currently performing clinical trials.

Read more
U.S. indicts Chinese hackers for stealing coronavirus vaccine research
A digital depiction of a laptop being hacked by a hacker.

Chinese hackers targeted U.S. biotech firms working on coronavirus vaccines and treatments, and other companies around the globe, according to U.S. prosecutors. 

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) charged two hackers on Tuesday, July 21, for breaking into companies for their own profit, as well as at the behest of a Chinese civilian spy agency. The indictment states that the two “researched vulnerabilities in the networks of biotech and other firms publicly known for work on COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and testing technology.”

Read more
FBI moves in to investigate Twitter’s massive Bitcoin hack
Twitter symbol photo. Credits: Twitter official.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is now examining the major hack that hit Twitter on Wednesday, July 17, in a bid to find out who was behind the incident, the Wall Street Journal reports

Twitter accounts belonging to Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos, among other high-profile users of the microblogging service, were hit in a scam that involved a fake tweet encouraging followers to send payments to a Bitcoin wallet. It had some success, too, as data on showed that more than $115,000 via 392 transactions was sent to the Bitcoin wallet posted in the messages.

Read more