IMF maintains silence on cyber attack, says fund is fully functional

Published Date
13 - Jun - 2011
| Last Updated
13 - Jun - 2011
IMF maintains silence on cyber attack, says fund is fully functio...

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has refrained from divulging the details of the recent cyber attack on its computer network. The body that oversees global financial system said that the investigations were on and maintained that the fund was fully functional.

According to the media reports, the US investigating agency FBI is probing what has been dubbed as a “large and sophisticated attack”. The IMF staff recently received a notification from the management asking them to report any suspicious content they come across. They were also asked not to open mails without authenticating the source.

The attack forced the World Bank (WB) to sever network connection with the IMF as a precautionary measure. The two bodies collaborate with each other on economic woes of the member nations across the world. Officials, however, say that the severed connection was not used to exchange critical or any kind of sensitive data. [RELATED_ARTICLE]

It is believed that the attack caused loss of huge volume of data that includes e-mails and documents, though it is yet to be confirmed by the IMF. Possibilities of access to the sensitive data and fund strategy have raised concerns, while the diplomatic stance of IMF has too added fuel to the fire. Reports have suggested that the fund was on hackers' target for a long time.

Tom Kellermann, ex-cyber security specialist at the WB, says that the attack specifically targeted the fund as the codes were specially written to infiltrate IMF network. He further echoed the concerns on access to the critical data.

It is very tough to say whether cyber attacks are on the rise but it is clearly evident that cyber security is still vulnerable, and both conceptually and practically, will remain so. Concerns have grown sharply as now cyber attacks are now being organisation/institution specific. Recently Google, Indian government, Sony, and CitiGroup were too hit by the hackers. However, it's interesting to see the institutions getting comfortable about disclosing the hacks. It seems the fear of hacking embarrassment has shrunk.