Several Dozen Suspects Arrested Amid Bank of Russia Cyberheist Investigation

A few months ago, news broke about the Russian Central Bank suffering from a hack attack. At the time, it was unclear who was behind the attack, or how it was executed. Russian authorities have now made several arrests of people who they feel are responsible for this cyber heist. During the attack, US$19m worth of rubles were stolen, and the money has not yet been recovered.

Who is behind The Russian Central Bank Heist?

Quite a large number of suspects have been arrested as part of the ongoing cyberattack investigation. In the month of May, cyber criminals managed to steal US$19m worth of Russian rubles from the bank and left without as much as a trace. At that time, it was speculated that this could be an inside job, although no evidence was found.

According to Artyom Sychyov, an official spokesperson of the Russian Central Bank, these arrests are a result of a collaboration. The Federal Security Service and Interior Ministry for cyberattacks have put a lot of work into investigating the cyberheist in recent months. Back in June of this year, a total of fifty suspects had been arrested by the FSB already, but those were just the first wave of arrests as the investigation has progressed.

Although news about this cyberheist spread around the world briefly after the attack took place, the Russian Central Bank never officially confirmed the breach. That situation was rectified in a recent stability report, indicating how hackers attempted to steal nearly twice the amount lost in the attack. Thankfully, a lot of funds were never lost.

For the time being, no one is exactly sure how many arrests have been made in total.  The 50 initial arrests in June are only a minor indicator, and the FSB has not revealed further specifics at this time–nor is it clear if one person executed the attack or if a group of criminals attempted to steal the money.

What is worth noting is how the payment system of the Bank of Russia was not compromised during the attack. Instead, third-party correspondent accounts were abused to execute this attack. This draws some similarities to what happened to the Bank of Bangladesh not too long ago, which also lost funds because of unauthorized third-party access.

It is evident that the financial sector is under threat from all sides.  Cyberattacks will only become more common in the coming years, as criminals try to find new weaknesses in existing security measures. Unfortunately, that job is rather easy, since not all banks use top-notch security right now.

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