Russia prepares to neutralize cyber attack
Russia's intelligence agency (FSB) said it had uncovered a plot by foreign spy agencies to sow chaos in Russia's banking system via a coordinated wave of cyber attacks and fake social media reports about banks going bust.
The attack was to have started on December 5, and its targets were a number of major national and provincial banks in several Russian cities, the statement added.
"It was planned that the cyber attack would be accompanied by a mass send-out of SMS messages and publications in social media of a provocative nature regarding a crisis in the Russian banking system, bankruptcies and license withdrawals," Reuters cited the statement as saying.
The servers to be used in the alleged cyber attack were located in the Netherlands, and were registered to a Ukrainian web hosting company called BlazingFast.
"The FSB is carrying out the necessary measures to neutralize threats to Russia's economic and information security," the statement added.
Five Russian banks were hit by a a series of cyber-attacks on November 8.
Professor of the RANEPA faculty of Finance, Money Circulation and Credit, Yuri Yudenkov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, hastened to calm the depositors of Russian banks, ensuring that their money will not disappear after hacks. "The damage from these attacks can be applied only to the bank's server: as a result of a cyber-attack they will be locked, and all remote operations will be interrupted for some time: but they will be automatically closed to protect them against hacks. This is bad for the bank, as it will be isolated from the interbank market, and considering the present rate of passage of electronic money, any lock operations results in reputational and even physical loss for the bank," he said.
"But there will be no losses for investors, because the servers will be locked. It will become a problem only if a person wants to withdraw money from a card in that moment - he can't do it. Therefore, I want to calm everyone down: it is rather a psychological attack. You do not need to run to the bank to take your deposits: as a whole, the banks are under constant attack by hackers on a daily basis, it is everyday practice," Yuri Yudenkov concluded.
An associate professor of Stock Markets and Financial Engineering of RANEPA, Vasiliy Yakimkin, in turn, explained that we should be prepared for anything, because hackers can have a variety of attack options.
"The most primitive harm can be caused by a typical DDoS attack, when a large number of computers send data to a server, overwhelming its capacity and preventing users from accessing it," he explained.
Another possible scenario is publishing defamatory or false information on a web site. But the most serious problem, according to the expert, may occur if hackers will be able to copy passwords and logins from the website of the credit organization. "Then they will be able to steal a good amount of money," Yakimkin said.
"As for the sites the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank, hackers can send false letters to the controlled entity, it can also arouse the market," he added.
However, according to the analyst, ordinary citizens should not panic and take money from banks. "Even if hackers hurl the credit institution, in Russian conditions, deposits of the majority of people are less than 1.4 million rubles, which is covered by insurance," he said.
"In addition, hackers usually cannot take control over personal customer accounts: there is too little money, which are under double and triple protection," Vasily Yakimkin concluded.