ICBC Cybersecurity Breach Sparks Concerns

The breach led to disruptions in trading, transactions, and the bank's participation in a Treasury bond auction.

ICBC Cybersecurity Breach Sparks Concerns
ICBC Cybersecurity Breach Sparks Concerns

Engineers are investigating how unauthorized individuals gained access to the New York branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), a $5.74 trillion-asset financial institution.

Bloomberg reports that the breach compelled ICBC to utilize a USB stick to resolve trades and incentivized brokerages, market makers, and banks to reroute transactions.

Additionally, the bank’s participation in the Treasury’s bond auction on Thursday was disrupted due to the attack.

The ransomware gang Lockbit, which has connections to Russia, is suspected by investigators to be responsible for the attack.

Bloomberg reports, without identifying specific individuals, that banking executives acknowledge the breach, which underscores concerns that a system-wide assault may eventually cripple the conventional financial system.

“The occurrence brings attention to a threat that bank executives admit keeps them awake at night: the potential for a cyber assault that may one day compromise a critical component of the cabling of the financial system, thereby instigating a chain reaction of disturbances.”

The ICBC reports that it is unsure whether to approach the Chinese Ministry of State Security for assistance.

According to a report by the cybersecurity firm Sophos, the frequency of ransomware attacks targeting the financial sector has recently escalated.

“The incidence of ransomware attacks in the financial services sector continues to increase, according to the 2023 survey.

The percentage increased from 55% in the 2022 report to 64% in the current year’s study, nearly doubling the 34% that the sector reported in the 2021 report.

Despite a rise in the rate of attacks, the industry remained below the cross-sector average of 66%.

According to Sophos, financial institutions are increasing their security measures.

According to the firm’s survey of 3,000 cybersecurity and IT leaders, 336 of whom are in the financial services industry, 81% of businesses claim to encrypt their data, a 50% increase from the previous year.