IMF faces massive data breach

Fund’s databases were attacked, no information on what may have been stolen

Tags: Cyber crimeInternational Monetary Fund - IMFPhishing
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IMF faces massive data breach The IMF has been hit by a sophisticated cyber-attack.
By  Georgina Enzer Published  June 13, 2011

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), was recently hit by a massive and sophisticated cyber-attack which it announced to staff on Wednesday last week, according to the New York Times.

The Fund manages highly confidential information about the financial condition of many nations, it is this data which may have been breached.

"This was a very major breach," an IMF official told the New York Times and revealed that the attack had occurred over the last few months, possibly even before the IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested on assault charges.

A spokesman for the fund, David Hawley, declined to provide details or talk about the scope or nature of the intrusion.

"We are investigating an incident, and the fund is fully functional," he said.

The fund databases contain sensitive financial information around economic bailout programmes for Portugal, Greece and Ireland as well as other countries which may be facing financial crises.

It also contains communications between the IMF and national leaders around negotiations for international bailouts.

The cyber-attack was so serious that the World Bank cut its computer links with the IMF that allow the two organisations to share information.

It is so far unclear what information the hackers managed to gain access to.

IMF officials have also so far declined to comment on where the attack originated, but it is believed that attack came in the form of spear phishing.

This type of attack targets a single internet user, tricking them into clicking on malicious web links or running a programme which then opens a gateway into the users network.

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