Bank of Chile Hit by $10 Million Cyber Heist Using SWIFT Messaging System

June 12, 2018

Shares in the Bank of Chile were down on Monday after it confirmed hackers had siphoned off $10 million of its funds, mainly to Hong Kong, though the country’s second-largest commercial bank said no client accounts had been impacted.

The cyber heist is the latest in a string of such attacks, including one in May in Mexico in which thieves used phantom orders and fake accounts to steal hundreds of millions of Mexican pesos out of the country’s banks, including Banorte.

Shares in the Bank of Chile, which is controlled by the Chilean Luksic family and Citigroup, were down 0.47 percent at 100.4 Chilean pesos ($.16) in mid-day trading [on June 11].

Bank CEO Eduardo Ebensperger told Chilean daily La Tercera in an interview on Saturday that hackers had initially used a virus as a distraction, prompting the bank to disconnect 9,000 computers in branches across the country on May 24 to protect customer accounts.

Meanwhile, the hackers quietly used the global SWIFT bank messaging service to initiate a series of fraudulent transactions that were eventually spotted by the bank and canceled but not before millions were funneled to accounts abroad.

“The was meant to hurt the bank, not our customers,” Ebensperger said.

Ebensperger said a forensic analysis conducted by Microsoft had determined the attack was the work of a sophisticated international group of hackers, likely from eastern Europe or Asia, and that the bank had filed a criminal complaint in Hong Kong.

The bank said in a May financial statement that it would work with insurers to recoup the lost funds.

($1 = 632 Chilean pesos) (Reporting by Felipe Iturrieta Writing by Dave Sherwood; editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Topics Cyber

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