More than 50 cyber breaches were detected between 2011 and 2015 by the US Federal Reserve, which said that some of the incidents can be described as espionage, Fee records indicate. The central bank and its staff suspect that in most of the cases, hackers and spies are the obvious suspects.
The cybersecurity report, which reporters got through the Freedom of Information Act request was however heavily redacted by the bank’s officials, so as to keep the secrets of the bank’s security protocols safe. When asked for comment the bank refused, and the records provided do not indicate who had gained access to the bank’s system or if they had stolen any money.
James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that this showed the act of hacking was continually presenting a threat to the stability of the financial system in the world, after reviewing the files received.
The records given also show that they represent only a fraction of the attacks since they are only for the cases which involve the Board Of Governors, which is a federal agency that is found by public records laws. Reporters could not get access to the reports for the other 12 privately owned regional banks.
This revelation of security breaches at the Fed bank comes at a time when the financial system worldwide is being criticized after hackers managed to get away with $81 million from the Bangladesh Bank account which was at the New York Fed Bank. Most cyber attacks have been targeted towards the large and significant financial institutions in the world.
From the 310 reports that were provided by the Fed’s board in the report, 140 of the 310 were said to be hacking attempts. Between 2011 and 2013, eight of the information breaches showed that the cases involved a malicious code, which meant hackers were using software to break into the system. Around this time, the Fed trading desk was well into buying a lot of bonds.
In 2012, the records showed that four hacking attempts were cited as espionage cases, and at least two of those cases had information disclosed. The other two cases did not show whether there was a breach or not. The group of security researchers for the Fed national bank discovered about 51 cases which included information disclosure and these cases involved the board of the Fed. Another separate report showed that there had been four such incidents instead. Information disclosure cases range from hackers who enter a system and see information without consent or an email which can be wrongfully sent to a wrong recipient.