The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the largest bank in the Asian country, suffered a cyber attack this Wednesday ransomware that affected some of its financial services systems in the United States, the entity reported in a statement. He ransomware It consists of the kidnapping of data by encrypting it and subsequently demanding a ransom in exchange for the key to recover it. ICBC has explained on its website that immediately after discovering the incident it “disconnected and isolated” the affected systems to contain the attack and that it has been conducting a “thorough investigation” and advancing its “recovery efforts” with the support of your professional team of computer security experts.
The bank also emphasizes that it has reported the incident to law enforcement authorities and that it managed to successfully liquidate the United States treasury operations executed on Monday and the financing operations of repos —a instrument by which securities are sold conditional on an agreement to repurchase them at a later date—made on Tuesday. The entity assures that the attack “had no impact” on the bank’s headquarters in China or its New York branch, since the business systems operate “independently.” A spokesman for the United States Department of the Treasury has stated that he is “aware” of the attack and has clarified that he “maintains contact with financial sector participants and regulators.”
Although the attacks of ransomware have increased in recent years, it is not common for it to have consequences in a major financial market. What is possible is that these types of computer threats raise doubts about the cybersecurity controls of market participants. Hedge funds and managers had to divert their movements through other alternative banks, which disrupted the liquidity of the bond market, but without affecting the general functioning.
The main suspects in the attack, according to sources consulted by Reuters, are members of the Lockbit cybercriminal organization, which appeared in 2020 and which, according to the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), has already affected to 1,700 US organizations. Lockbit has not claimed responsibility for the attack. Furthermore, the affected bank has not communicated who the threat is. It is common for those affected by an attack not to reveal where it came from.
A spokesperson for the American Treasury has indicated that they are “aware” of the cybersecurity problem and has confirmed that they are in regular contact with financial sector professionals and federal regulators to solve the problem as soon as possible without causing further financial consequences.
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