How a cyber attack paralyzed the world’s largest bank for hours

Adriana Lima
By Adriana Lima 4 Min Read
origin 1ICBC archive photograph ©VINCENT YU/AP2006

The world’s largest bank by property, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), was hit by a ransomware attack on Thursday that disrupted buying and selling on the US Treasury bond market.

ICBC Financial Services, the lender’s U.S. unit, which handles enterprise operations and different companies for monetary establishments, mentioned in a assertion on its web site that the ransomware attack disrupted a few of its techniques however that disconnected elements of the affected techniques to restrict the affect of the attack.

According to Bloomberg, at one level throughout Thursday’s buying and selling, the bank needed to undertake an unconventional resolution: It transmitted important knowledge to entities overseeing U.S. Treasury transactions by way of a messenger carrying a UBS thumb drive.

Overall the occasion had a restricted affect on the market.

Ultimately, all Treasury trades executed on Wednesday and repo financing operations on Thursday had been settled, ICBC mentioned, including that the lender’s banking, electronic mail and different techniques weren’t affected.

“Overall, the event had little impact on the market,” mentioned Scott Skyrm, govt vice chairman at Curvature Securities.

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Some market individuals mentioned trades made by means of ICBC went unsettled as a results of the attack and affected market liquidity. It’s unclear whether or not that contributed to the weak end result at Thursday’s 30-year bond public sale.

ICBC Financial Services says it’s investigating the attack and has reported the situation to regulation enforcement.

Prime suspect: a Russian-speaking cyber gang

Several ransomware specialists and analysts mentioned LockBit, an aggressive Russian-speaking cybercriminal gang that doesn’t goal former Soviet Union international locations, is believed to be behind the hack.

“We don’t often see such a large bank get hit by such a disruptive ransomware attack,” mentioned Allan Liska, ransomware skilled at cybersecurity agency Recorded Future.

“This attack continues a trend of increasing brazenness by ransomware groups,” he mentioned. “Without fear of repercussions, ransomware groups believe no target is off limits.”

Since LockBit was found in 2020, the group has affected 1,700 US organizations, in line with the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Last month he threatened Boeing with a leak of delicate knowledge he claimed he had discovered by hacking the firm.

“It’s a question of when, not if”: why is it crucial for companies to protect themselves from cyber attacks?

ICBC didn’t touch upon whether or not Lockbit was behind the hack.

While market sources mentioned the affect of the hacking appeared restricted, they flagged susceptible techniques of huge organizations like ICBC (with greater than $6 trillion) [€5.6 trillion] in property, in line with Forbes) proceed to belong to cybercriminals.

Thursday’s incident is prone to increase questions on market operators’ cybersecurity controls and immediate regulatory scrutiny.

The Treasury bond market appeared to perform usually on Thursday, in line with knowledge from the London Stock Exchange.

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