Representatives from G20 nations meeting in Germany have agreed to jointly fight cyber criminals who target the global banking system.
At a two-day meeting in Baden-Baden, finance ministers and central bank governors of the world’s 20 largest economies pledged to combat cyber crime with cross-border cooperation in order to maintain financial stability.
A draft document outlining the cooperative effort read: “The malicious use of information and communication technologies (ICT) could disrupt financial services crucial to both national and international financial systems, undermine security and confidence and endanger financial stability.
“We will promote the resilience of financial services and institutions in G20 jurisdictions against the malicious use of ICT, including from countries outside the G20.
“With the aim of enhancing our cross-border cooperation, we ask the Financial Stability Board, as a first step, to perform a stock-taking of existing relevant released regulations and supervisory practices in our jurisdictions, as well as of existing international guidance, including to identify effective practices.”
The pledge was made after hackers stole $81 million (€75.3 million) from the Bangladesh central bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York last year. Researchers at BAE Systems said the cyber criminals behind the attack most likely hacked into the SWIFT financial platform, which facilitates the secure international transfer of financial transactions.
Investigators believe insiders at the bank may have left its systems exposed, allowing hackers to infect them with the malware that facilitated the largest cyber heist in history. Cyber security analysts have been probing the attack over the past year in a bid to learn lessons that could be used to protect other financial institutions that might be targeted in a similar fashion.
The G20 agreement, which was finalised at a meeting on Saturday, was announced as sources told Bloomberg that hacktivist group Anonymous is increasingly targeting central banks. Two people with direct knowledge of the matter told the news agency the group has been recruiting new hackers as it prepares to step up its attacks on state financial institutions.
While the two people did not reveal which banks Anonymous plans to target, one of them said the group intends to sell on any confidential information it obtains in its attacks.
Stefano Zanero, Professor of Computer Security at Italian university Politecnico di Milano, said the actions of groups such as Anonymous should be taken as a wake-up call “that should alert us to the critical weaknesses of global financial systems”.
Adrian Nish, Head of Threat Intelligence at BAE Systems, told Bloomberg: “The Bangladeshi bank case last year really brought the focus on payments systems within central banks.
“The realisation that central banks can be targeted this way for profit has become a greater concern since Bangladesh.”