World Bank cut connection to IMF after "major" cyberattack

Leaderless organisation penetrated by hackers

Hackers - <i>Image credit: [[xref:|Chas Andrews' Movie Blog]]</i>

Hackers - Image credit: [[xref:|Chas Andrews' Movie Blog]]

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has admitted to being the victim of a cyberattack so serious that its global partner the World Bank temporarily decided to cut all computer links between the two organisations.

The precise nature of the attack and when it happened was not revealed to the New York Times, which broke the story, but is believed to have been some months before its now deposed head, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was accused of the sexual assault on a New York hotel chambermaid.

This much can be gleaned from the coded details revealed in the outline story; this was most likely an utterly standard targeted attack that started with one or more individuals in the organisation receiving an email, apparently from a trusted contact, which asked them to run an attachment.

Once run, the target for any malware executed at that point would, presumably, have been unencrypted confidential documentation, including emails, hosted elsewhere on the network. Exactly how successful the attack was has not, of course, been stated but it was severe enough for one unnamed official to be quoted as describing it "as a very major breach."

After being discovered, the World Bank, headquartered only yards from the IMF in Washington DC, disconnected itself from the latter to avoid becoming a collateral victim. That suggests the malware had an unsurprising ability to spread.

This style of attack is identical to those sweeping over every organisation in the world of any political or economic significance as evidenced by a clutch of recent high-profile attacks. It is becoming easier to state who has not been attacked than who has, including the UK Government, Google, Sony, defence contractor Lockheed Martin, and most seriously or all, RSA Security.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Personal Techsecurity

More about etworkGoogleIMFInternational Monetary FundLockheed MartinRSASonyWorld Bank

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by John E Dunn

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts